A year has passed since a rare nor’easter-type storm dropped torrential rains and caused major flash flooding over an eight-county area in northern West Virginia.
Catholic Charities West Virginia (CCWVa) and other organizations are celebrating the collaborations and progress that have been made over the past year.
“Disaster recovery cannot be accomplished by one person or one individual,” said Lora Pierce, CCWVa director of Disaster Services. “West Virginia is blessed to have many wonderful, giving individuals and organizations who come together to accomplish the daunting task of repairing and rebuilding homes and lives.”
Nearly 1,000 households were impacted in disaster-declared counties of Harrison, Marion, Marshall and Wetzel.
One of those families was the Devaul family of Marion County. The storm resulted in several feet of water flooding their family home. Janie Devaul is the sole income provider in the family of six, and the house had been badly damaged.
“The extensive drywall and flooring repair required professional contractors,” said Pierce. “We were blessed to be able to help the Devaul family return to a safe, sanitary and secure home.”
CCWVa was the only organization providing disaster case management and funding in Marion County.
“Thank you so much for reaching out to us,” said Devaul. “A year later, I finally have my room and my floor done … because you reached out to us.”
CCWVa Disaster Services program provides long-term recovery support through disaster case management, Long-Term Recovery Committees (LTRC) and funding.
CCWVa helped nine families recover from the 2017 flooding, providing $19,589 in donations to help with home repairs.
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Rose Hart, Marshall County LTRC chair, expressed gratitude for CCWVa’s commitment to flood recovery, especially in the McMechen area.
“CCWVa has been instrumental in helping families in the McMechen area with recovery by being actively involved with the LTRC,” said Hart. “This participation has led to a collaborative effort to provide funds for various projects that were then completed by other agencies or volunteers. We are very grateful for the help of Catholic Charities. By working together we have been able to make a difference for those who needed us the most.”
Beth Collins serves as the secretary of the Marshall County LTRC and is also the Northern Region director of CCWVa. She commented about the power of collaboration in a long-term recovery committee.
“The true beauty of a long-term recovery committee is the amount that can be accomplished when you have collaboration,” said Collins. “This diverse group of people from various organizations, all with different missions and funders, came together around a common goal of raising families out of crisis and ultimately restoring community.”
The Marshall County LTRC, CCWVa and other agencies last week co-hosted an anniversary event in McMechen that celebrated the perseverance of the community and all those impacted by the 2017 flooding.
“The flooding that occurred last summer was truly eye-opening not only because of the extent of the damage, but also because of the immediate and ongoing response by the community to take care of their neighbors and friends,” said Collins. “It has been an honor for CCWVa to be a part of the community of support.”