When disaster strikes, local people respond
As they have when disaster has struck before, residents of the Tri-State last week responded with generosity and caring for the millions affected by Superstorm Sandy.
The hurricane-spawned storm hit New York City and New Jersey hard, leveling homes, knocking out power and flooding good portions of that region. But it also reached inland as far as West Virginia, Ohio and Kentucky, with more than two feet of snow in West Virginia's higher elevations. That left more than 200,000 utility customers in the Mountain State without power, residents in many counties isolated for days, and claimed the lives of at least six West Virginians.
So the needs were great -- and continue to be -- not only along the coastal states of the Northeast but also closer to home.
As usual, relief organizations such as the Red Cross and Salvation Army swung into action, mobilizing their forces where possible and gathering the public's donations to help those in need. The United Way, too, set up a relief fund, and Tri-Staters no doubt contributed their fair share toward those efforts.
But people at local businesses and other organizations -- Verizon locations, Kroger stores, the Wayne County Republican headquarters -- also mobilized to accept non-perishable food, bottled water and cash donations. As another means of help, Cabell County Emergency Medical Services sent its heavy-duty, military-grade ambulance to Pocahontas County to get medical services to those stranded by heavy snow.
The response is not surprising. Similar reactions occurred after other calamities, such as the January 2010 earthquake in Haiti and the past summer's derecho storm that swept across this region. But it's a heartwarming reminder of how generous Tri-Staters can be.