West Virginia Strong

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WV Strong

A pickup truck swept into a drain along Spencer Road in Clendenin, West Virginia. Courtesy David T. Stephenson Photography.

The State of West Virginia has been hit hard in the last few days. Severe flooding and storms which began June 23rd [2016] have claimed the lives of 23 people, impacted thousands more, and the damage to property has been severe. Images across the news show heartbreaking scenes. Homes, cars and roads were swept away in an instant. Many counties in our state have been declared “State of Emergency” by Governor Earl Ray Tomblin.   While the Woodcraft office and employees are safe from harm, just a short distance south it is a vastly different story.

Crews from FEMARed CrossNational Guard, fire departments, utility companies  and other organizations and volunteers are on site actively taking stock of the disaster, removing debris and assisting folks in need. Collection points for donations are located in many churches and businesses across the state. The Greenbrier Classic PGA Tour, held at the historic Greenbrier Resort in White Sulphur Springs, W.Va., had to be cancelled due to damaged fairways, but even in the midst of widespread damage to their own properties, the hotel has offered rooms and meals for those displaced from the storm’s aftermath.

WV Strong

The Parkersburg WV Woodcraft store collected items for flood relief

As anyone from West Virginia knows, we pull together in times of tragedy. The Woodcraft family is much the same. On Monday morning, we were tasked with finding a way to assist in the relief efforts. Within a matter of hours, the Parkersburg Woodcraft retail store had secured a trailer to fill with donated items such as bottled water, nonperishable food, baby diapers, paper products and trash bags.

Woodcraft store employee Linda (Hedrick) Hashman and her father Jim Hedrick took the trailer south Tuesday morning, working with the U.S. Corps of Engineers to get the donations where they are most needed. Linda and her dad were instrumental in organizing the relief effort with many others. Volunteers Scott Ruble, Candy Kay Summers. Linda (Hedrick) Hashman with her daughter Paisley, and Joshua Shirley of Helping Hands Outreach for WV Flood Victims had a long day of gathering donations, delivering them to the affected areas, and handing out the items in Clay, West Virginia.

Woodcraft delivery – L to R: Lori Haught, Woodcraft Marketing/PR; Ronnie Roberts, Woodcraft warehouse; Karmyn Minnite Conley, PMC Managing Partner; Adam Clegg, Woodcraft warehouse; Pat Minnite Jr., PMC Managing Partner.

With the help of our generous vendors, Woodcraft was able to donate 50 TANOS T-Loc Systainers (insulated coolers) filled with boxes of Radnor disposable glovesGoodWipers cleaning rags and Larry Light flashlights, plus four Karcher G2500DH pressure washers. The donation was packed on pallets at the Woodcraft warehouse and delivered Tuesday to The PM Company in Vienna, W.Va., to coordinate with a Habitat for Humanity of the Mid-Ohio Valley delivery to affected areas.

A tattered American flag hangs on a post in the front yard of a home in Camden on Gauley, West Virginia. Courtesy of David T. Stephenson Photography.

West Virginia residents are known for standing proud and strong even in the face of devastating adversity, neighbor helping neighbor, pulling up our bootstraps to help wherever needed.  During West Virginia’s Centennial celebration in 1963, President John F. Kennedy stood on the capitol steps in Charleston and said, “The sun does not always shine in West Virginia, but the people always do.” On any given day, we see the acts of kindness right here in our community. But tough times like these let the rest of the nation see it too.

To assist in this time of need, here are four ways you can donate to flood relief efforts:

1.  American Red Cross – Check “West Virginia Floods” on the Donate page. Or Call 800-RED CROSS or text the word WVFLOODS to 90999 to make a $10 donation.

2. Samaritan’s Purse – US Disaster Relief - When a disaster strikes, Samaritan’s Purse partners with a local church whose facility and congregation are able and willing to help host the teams of volunteers and staff.

3. Salvation Army - Your gifts bring hope to people affected by a disaster by offering food, shelter, comfort, and a plan for recovery.

4. Kanawha-Charleston Humane Association – The KCHA is passing out pet food to animals in need in flood ravaged areas.

Linda Lou Hedrick, Woodcraft employee at our Parkersburg, WV, store, continues to help the flood victims in Cowen, WV. This time with a free camper with all the amenities to a family who lost their home and has been sleeping in their truck. Listen in …

 The scope of this disaster is devastating. Let’s take care of one another.

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