Volunteers Rally in West Virginia’s Flood-Devastated Communities

By Colleen Rowan
WEST VIRGINIA—Volunteers have rallied in West Virginia communities devastated by last month’s historic floods which left 23 people dead.
Elkview, Richwood, White Sulphur Springs and their surrounding areas were hit hard by storms that dumped huge amounts of rain on the southeastern part of the state—7 inches of rain fell in just three hours in Richwood and 10 inches of rain fell in four hours in White Sulphur Springs.
“We’ve been in the area assigning work teams to help … clean up, and we’ve unloaded a lot of trucks,” said Janet Kelley, state disaster recovery coordinator for Catholic Charities West Virginia (CCWVa), who has been working in the Elkview area coordinating recovery efforts.
Rev. Mr. David Galvin of St. James Parish in Charles Town coordinated recovery efforts in Nicholas County with a group from his parish. He said that many members of his parish volunteered to help their neighbors in need.
“We had two crews totaling 12 people in Richwood, a first for our mission trip, and 48 people in Webster Springs,” Deacon Galvin said. “We focused on flood relief in Richwood, the flood relief center in Webster County with Catholic Charities, and the usual projects on individuals’ homes. … We took a truck filled with dry wall into the flood areas as well as 14 appliances. We plan to send a minimum of 20 more appliances down at the end of this week (July 16).”
Working with the St. James group was seminarian Andrew Murray who said it was a humbling experience to see the devastation left by the floods and the many people in need of help.
“We worked on a house in Richwood that needed work before the flooding, but even more so now,” Murray said. “It was great to see people from around the country wanting to help. The work is unfinished. They will need help for a while because people still aren’t allowed into their homes and they’re still in the process of condemning homes. Through all of that, the people are resilient.”
To aid in recovery efforts, Wheeling Hospital donated five tons of supplies to help West Virginia flood victims.
 “We’re pleased to be able to have purchased these items. Since our founding in 1850, Wheeling Hospital has always helped those in need. It’s simply what we do,” said CEO Ron Violi. “Our hearts and prayers are with those suffering downstate. We hope this donation helps ease their situation.”
 The hospital’s donation included: 4,000 bottles of water; 6,000 rolls of paper towels; 960 toilet paper rolls; 15 gallons of beach; 240 bottles shampoo/body wash; 720 toothpaste tubes; 720 toothbrushes; 1,000 packs of Q-tips; 720 razors; 240 bottles of hand sanitizer; 120 packs of wipes; six cases of diapers; 200 boxes of gloves; 1,200 washcloths; 60 blankets; 50 bed sheets; 200 pillow cases; 200 towels; and 40 blankets for small pets.
 The donated items were transported to Robinson Auto Group at the Highlands which in turn, will ship them to the flooded areas. Robinson’s has been serving as a local collection center and is welcoming donations.
(Contributing to this story was Martina Hart.)