“Oh, the West Virginia Hills! How Majestic and How Grand!”
My parents and I have made it a goal of ours to see more of our beautiful state. We’ve been taking mini-road trips trying to visit each of the 55 counties. To date we’ve set foot in all of them but four, but we need to revisit some as we started taking pictures with all of the county line signs after our first trip.
The next few posts will be about our trip as it would be one very long post to cover our three-day trip and all of the things that we saw.
This first post will be a bit out of order from the rest.
My family and I are sometimes less aware of current events as we don’t have television and our radio time is limited. I often avoid the drama of Facebook by only posting my own things or looking at close friends’ pages, so sometimes we are late in hearing what’s going on in the world.
We were sitting at the table Thursday night chatting before we went to bed. We were getting up early Friday to start heading down the Ohio River border. My brother’s lady friend told us that there was severe flooding in the part of West Virginia we were headed. We quickly pulled up the news for the area on the Internet and were shocked.
There were already fatalities including an 8 year old that had been swept away. We discussed our options and decided to go ahead with our trip – going as far as we could along the original route and rerouting if needed.
The farther into the state, the more we heard; local radio stations and TV news stations were covering the destruction. Facebook was buzzing with prayers for WV and #WVstrong. As we headed down towards the disaster area, we stopped at a grocery store to get cases of water which we would leave at a donation center. The death toll hit 24 with a hundred people trapped in a shopping mall, homes swept away and thousands without power. Most of our trip was unaffected by the flooding. We decided to still try for Charleston as the locals we asked said that the roads were clear into Charleston despite the surrounding areas being underwater. After walking the capitol’s grounds, we headed back to our home county.
We took a road which had just been reopened from severe mud slides. The road passed some of the most affected areas. Peering down over the guardrails, we could see the path of the flood waters. There were down branches and stagnant puddles. A few homes that we passed had piles of belongings: couches, rugs, and mattresses out in the yard to be cleaned or to dry. We saw a classic car with the doors open being cleaned from the mud. We stopped at a gas station; they had no running water.
We made our way back up the state. It was amazing to see that life was continuing despite the destruction to the south. President John F. Kennedy once said, “The sun does not always shine in West Virginia, but the people always do.” No matter how unfortunate her situation, her people never stop caring, struggling and shining.
West Virginia is struggling to survive and adapt without these types of setbacks. These areas are already in need of help, and a disaster of this magnitude could make it nearly impossible for these communities to recover. If you can help in any way, it is appreciated. Donations or volunteer links can be found here.