Organizations Working Together
to Help Rebuild Flooded Homes

 


White Sulphur Springs, W.Va. – (August, 26, 2016): On one end of Crescent Street in White Sulphur Springs, a backhoe operated by the West Virginia National Guard was tearing down an abandoned building left unsalvageable after the June 23 flood that ravaged West Virginia, uprooting homes and leaving 23 dead. Less than 100 yards away, Rodney Burkholder with Mennonite Disaster Services was speaking with Tony Mamone from The Pinnacle Group about a home they were working to rebuild less than a mile away.

A few feet from them stood Mamone’s wife, Habibi, who spearheads the efforts for The Greenbrier’s Neighbors Loving Neighbors charity. She was showing Jenny Gannaway from the West Virginia Volunteers Organizations Assisting in Disasters the custom built homes that will eventually fill the sites where the destructed dwellings are being removed.


This teamwork on display this week was all part of a collaborative effort among a number of groups trying to rebuild White Sulphur Springs, and it’s a template that will be followed in other parts of the state in the months ahead to try to get homeowners, who saw so much of their lives claimed by the rushing waters, back on their feet.


“It’s a great team effort,” said Gannaway. “By working together like this, we’re able to accomplish so much more. We’re not duplicating efforts, and we’re making sure things don’t slip through the cracks. It’s been a great way to help those in need.”

The organizations that were on hand on this humid summer afternoon were just part of the team.


Glenn Beck’s Mercury One has provided truckloads of bottled water, commercial-grade debris removal gloves and granulated lime since the flooding, and more recently the group has provided enough building supplies to restore more than 60 family homes. Funds from radio listeners have also helped fund a food pantry in Richwood, W.Va., providing enough food for 10,000 meals.


Gleaning for the World has used Mercury One’s funds to purchase and deliver many of these items, and the West Virginia Division of Homeland Security has aided in coordinating many of these efforts, as well.

“It’s been rewarding to see the cooperation among the groups,” said Burkholder. “And it’s great to see so many chipping in to help people who may not be able to afford to do this on their own.”


The demolition of homes in White Sulphur Springs will continue over the next few weeks. The West Virginia Naional Guard has identified homes, starting with a homeowner’s request, that need to be removed. Every home has to be approved by Greenbrier County and the State of West Virginia and must meet FEMA eligibility. Homeowners who have been affected by the flooding and are requesting demolition should contact the county to find out if their home meets eligibility requirements.


“We’re trying to help restore normalcy to these people’s lives,” said Captain Justin McIntire of the West Virginia National Guard. “We want to help as many as we can and encourage those who think they may qualify to contact their county officials to begin the paperwork.”


Neighbors Loving Neighbors was created this spring as an effort to feed the hungry in West Virginia by asking attendees at The Greenbrier Classic to bring a can of food with them to the golf tournament. At the conclusion of the tournament, that food was to be donated to area food banks. After the flood and the cancellation of The Greenbrier Classic, the organization quickly transformed, serving as a FEMA Point of Distribution, providing supplies and food to those in need immediately after the flood.

As the recovery efforts continue, Neighbors Loving Neighbors has turned its attention to providing funds to those helping to rebuild. Neighbors Loving Neighbors is trying to fill in the gaps for those who did not receive enough federal assistance to complete their rebuilding efforts by providing the funds to complete those projects.

 


“We’re trying to stretch our dollars as far as we can and help as many people as possible,” said Mamone. “So many people have been so generous in helping with our efforts, and we’re making sure those funds get to the people who need them.

“We’re starting right here in White Sulphur Springs, but this same template will be used to help those in need all over the state.”


Jim Justice, The Greenbrier owner who started Neighbors Loving Neighbors, lost friends as a result of the flood and saw others lose nearly all of their possessions. He’s proud of the efforts of so many to work together to achieve positive results.


“So many people have jumped in to help,” said Justice. “We’re trying to rebuild homes and rebuild lives. It’s a big project, but the work that’s being done has been amazing. General Hoyer with the National Guard and Jimmy Gianato with Homeland Security have been fantastic, and it's been a pleasure to work with these people to help the people of West Virginia.”

For more information on these projects and Neighbors Loving Neighbors, visit Greenbrier.com/neighbors.