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Donations Show Tyler’s Generosity

By Staff | Jul 13, 2016

Photo by Chad Turner Sistersville Mayor Bill Rice and his granddaughter Abby Kemp gather supplies for flood relief.

SISTERSVILLE – City Hall and Sistersville General Hospital were among the many groups and organizations from across Tyler County who have donated their time and resources to assist people affected by the flood in June.

Mayor Bill Rice said most of the city’s donations were gathered locally and he was able to buy many items at a low cost thanks to Lowes and Walmart of Marietta.

“It amazes me how people have come together in the event of such a tragedy” he said.

The generosity of total strangers was something to behold.

“What really touched my heart was a gentleman at Lowes the other night who asked me if I was doing a flood relief drive,” Rice said. “I told him ‘yes.’ He said to me that he just wanted to help and gave me a $100 bill. We took tents, air mattresses, wheel barrels, box fans, food, diapers, pet food, pillows, water and a lot of other things. I want to thank everyone who helped and donated money I feel they really appreciated it. If you need more just ask.”

Last Friday, Rice loaded up a large truck filled with various items and went to Clay County with his son, Jason Rice, and granddaughter, Abby Kemp, along with City Recorder Chad Edwards, and Mitchell Stewart, a city employee.

“I think that Sistersville’s donation was gladly accepted,” Mayor Rice said.

Edwards said the group saw some houses that were uprooted, along with trash and debris in Elk River, so the donations were needed.

“Absolutely our town did a good thing,” Edwards said. “The city really kicked in and helped.”

After meeting the Reverend Gary Drake of the Clay First Baptist Church, Rice said he learned what the living conditions were like for folks who lost everything.

“We had picked up several air mattresses and Reverend Drake said they needed those bad,” Rice said. “He told us that people were sleeping in tents on the ground still. I think it will take those people along time to get back to normal down there.”

Edwards added, “I think the people of Sistersville made a difference because the people down there are in dire need.”

Todd Strickler, who works as a house supervisor for Sistersville General Hospital, described some of the damage he saw while delivering hospital’s donations to needy people.

“It was bad a lot of damage. There were houses off their foundations,” he said. “One of the things that struck me was seeing a debris collection site that was at least 40 feet high. It was enormous.”

Strickler said when he and his wife, Beth Ann, arrived in Clay County, the receiving facility at Clay High School was closed because Federal Emergency Management Agency had shut down intake of supplies at that location. Tyler County folks were redirected to Clay First Baptist Church.

“They were very very grateful at the church,” Strickler said. “The appreciated the box fans which were really needed those to dry out carpets. People from the church were extremely friendly and grateful. It was a great experience for us and it shows to me the strength of the giving spirit of America.”

Rice said volunteers are willing to make another trip if enough supplies are gathered. Anyone who would like to help or donate can contact City Hall on Diamond Street in Sistersville for more details.