West Virginians Stick Together During Crisis
By MILES LAYTON
SISTERSVILLE – Governor Earl Tomblin’s office said at least 20 lives have been lost across the state as a result of flooding, and three more people are missing and presumed dead.
More than 400 people remain in shelters and initial estimates indicate that more than 1,000 homes could be destroyed or damaged beyond repair.
The City of Sistersville, Sistersville General Hospital, and the Sistersville Junior Athletic Association will be accepting donations to assist the flood victims in Clay, Nicholas, and Greenbrier Counties.
Monetary donations will also be accepted as well as gift cards or prepaid major credit cards.
Donations can be dropped off between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. at the Sistersville City Building on Diamond Street and/or Sistersville General Hospital on South Wells street until July 6.
“The flooding is very tragic for the people that were affected,” Sistersville Mayor Bill Rice said. “But I believe something good can come out of it if we show them out there that there are people that care.
can’t imagine the pain that they are feeling right now. We started receiving donations today. When something like this happens, it shows you that there is still good out there in our community.”
Sistersville City Councilman Alex King explained the reason why West Virginians come together during times of adversity.
“Many of our small towns and communities have a lot in common, and we share an unspoken connection and love for that way of life,” he said. “We know what we do for each other in Tyler County, and West Virginia is an extension of those neighborly values. If things were the other way around, they’d do the same for us.”
John May, chief executive officer at Sistersville General Hospital, added, “SGH is proud to support the flood relief efforts for our neighbors to the south. We believe in our state’s heritage of helping our neighbors in need.”
Paden City is also accepting donations that will be sent to affected areas.
Tyler County Emergency Management Director Tom Cooper said he has been notified that the state’s Department of Homeland Security, WV Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster in coordination with Volunteer WV have acquired access to a warehouse to accept and manage donations.
As to Tyler County, Cooper said, there have been two truck loads and a trailer load of cleaning supplies, water and food delivered into affected areas.
Cooper said the most needed item is money which can be used to purchased exactly what is needed such as medicine, eye glasses, hearing aids, special foods, etc.. There is a secure and dependable way to handle the donation of money.
Go to wvvoad.communityos.org/cms/home for an opportunity to properly donate to a specific cause.
Many people have inquired as to how to volunteer. Cooper advises folks not just show up unless the receiving agency is aware and prepared to utilize their services. He recommends seeking out to www.volunteerwv.org so as to register. This is the group that is heading up the volunteer response.
People who need cleanup assistance, are available to volunteer or want to donate should visit wvvoad.communityos.org/cms/ or connect with an agency in their local community. Individuals and businesses in counties that have been declared federal disaster areas should visit www.disasterassistance.gov or call 1-800-621-FEMA (3362).
Cooper said it is important that the counties not only needed what may be provided, but that authorities knew the supplies were coming. He advises people not just drop off supplies anywhere without previous approval. Cooper said he has heard of no one asking for clothing. He asks people not to drop off “yard sale” stuff unless someone asks for it because there are usually not enough resources at the reception centers to do anything with clothes. In past disasters they have had to pay for dumpsters to come and haul it away! However, Cooper said, if anyone is aware of a specific need for clothing, “please act upon it!”
Among recommended items that authorities are seeking for people in need:
Water (gallons and bottled)
Empty gas cans
Baby food and formula
Cleaning supplies (jugs of bleach, window cleaner, paper towels, etc.)
As to Sistersville – donations, questions and more may be addressed to:
Sistersville City Building
200 Diamond Street
Sistersville, WV 26175
Sistersville General Hospital
311 South Wells Street
Sistersville, WV 26175