Commissioners thank residents
Tyler County Commissioner Charles “Pork” Smith opened Tuesday’s meeting by thanking various people in the community.
“Someone once said ‘these are the times that try men’s souls.’ It’s been a rough couple of weeks. We have a lot of people we need to thank,” he said. “We need to thank the people of Tyler County. Immediately we saw people out – neighbor helping neighbor – just typical things you see in Tyler County.”
Smith also thanked OEM Director Tom Cooper, Sheriff Earl P. “Bob” Kendle, Jr., the deputies and dispatchers, the volunteer fire departments countywide, the West Virginia National Guard, churches and school organizations.
Smith lauded the local, merchants for doing their part in the recovery efforts. “The Furbee family had a generator set up to pump gas, not with the idea of making an easy buck, but with the idea of helping people out.”
He expressed his gratitude to the Witschey family. “Rather than throw hundreds of pounds of perishable food away, they gave it away.”
“Boggs’ Pizza donated food, as well as Barb’s Diner,” Smith noted.
Cooper echoed Commissioner Smith’s appreciation, adding Triad Hunter and Antero Resources to the list. “Triad Hunter brought the first load of ice into the county,” Cooper said. “They called and asked what we needed, and I told them they probably couldn’t help but we needed ice. They called right back and said it was coming out of Kentucky and we would have it in the morning. They were there before Homeland Security even knew where to get ice.”
Antero Resources hauled water into the county on trailers, according to Cooper. “Since their people couldn’t be in the office, they sent them down to help unload trucks.”
The sheriff noted that no accidents were reported during the recovery efforts. “We didn’t have any domestic fights, or anything, except for the disaster work.”
“It’s been a community effort. People really stepped up, “Smith said. “There were a few complaints. Times like these will bring out the best in people, but it can also bring out the worst. All in all, everybody involved did a super job.”
Cooper commented, “It isn’t over yet. I spoke with the people with the National Guard and they were wanting to pull their guys. I told them, to put it in military terms, we are still under fire.”
“We have 435 families that don’t have power. For those people, it’s getting worse,” he added. “So we aren’t letting up. We still have people out there. We are still running generators.”
“The sad news is that it appears as if there won’t be any individual assistance from FEMA,” Cooper said.
Smith asked, “What type of proclamation does that require?”
Cooper answered, “The governor has to say we need it and the numbers have to show it. But there is a glimmer of hope in that it’s an election year. The president can just sign it in.”
Cooper stated he had a long discussion with FEMA earlier this week. “The surrounding counties are saying they are O.K., and they have more people than we do. But most of the counties in the state are begging for (FEMA’s help). I would recommend that folks get with their representatives and let the governor’s office know this needs to happen.”
Cooper said his phone rings constantly with needs of individuals. “People think freezers are a back up. Some people live off the deer they got during deer season. These people can’t afford it!”
“There are people with nothing, who are hurting,” Cooper said. “This individual assistance could help with all that. It could help people recoup what they’ve lost.”
“There are people who are spending $100 a day to keep their oxygen machines running. There people don’t have $100 a month,” he added.
According to FEMA, the numbers for the county do not support a declaration for assistance. “Two ladies came in from (Washington) D.C. and they said it didn’t look like there was anything going on. I took them out in the county and showed them. They were amazed. They didn’t realize the impact.”
Cooper told the commissioners, “We are still in the woods in this battle. When these 435 families get their power back on, then we can start patting people on the back. But we are still under fire folks. People need to know that in your positions, and I think you do know that.”
A series of meetings have been set up to discuss the budgetary process for the recovery effort. They will be held at 9 a.m. on Friday July 20, Friday, Aug. 3 and Friday, Aug. 10.
(Editor’s Note: If you’d like to express your support of a declaration for individual FEMA support for residents of Tyler County, contact your local representatives: Sen. Jeffrey V. Kessler (D – Marshall), Capitol Phone: 304-357-7801, Business Phone: 304-845-2580, E-mail: email@example.com; Sen. Larry J. Edgell (D – Wetzel), Capitol Phone: 304-357-7827, E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; Del. Wm. Roger Romine (R-Tyler), Capitol Phone: 304- 340-3226, Business Phone: 304-771-0018, E-mail: email@example.com.