Thursday, June 30, 2016

Unable to wait for help, rural W.Va. flood victim repairs bridges, roadway to help free neighbor

Flooding in West Virginia has killed at least 23 people and devastated 1,200 homes, Steve Visser and Martin Savidge report for CNN. Timothy Rock, spokesman for the state Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management said that, "As of Wednesday evening, 3,240 residents had registered flood damage with Federal Emergency Management Agencyreports the Charleston Gazette-Mail. State Transportation Secretary Paul Mattox said flooding has caused $16 million in damage to the state's highways, Jeff Jenkins reports for West Virginia Metro News.

With so much damage, some rural residents have taken to making their own repairs. On June 23, the day of most of the flooding, "the people of Granny's Creek outside of Amma watched as two bridges and several sections of the rural roadway were washed away," Sean DeLancey reports for WCHS-8 in Charleston. Local resident "Butch Jett fixed them in less than 16 hours." Jett told DeLancey, "I was born and raised in this hollow. I'm sure it's where I'll be buried." (WCHS image: Damaged bridge)

DeLancey writes, "Jett patched the two bridges and all of the washed out roadways, freeing his neighbor Oral Newsome to get supplies. Jett said he had no choice, but to jump into his miniature bulldozer and help in any way he could." Jett, who said his hollow should stand as an example for others looking to help rebuild rural communities, told DeLancey, "Some of my good friends, I've taken their whole life, put it in a Dumpster, and shipped it down the road. You'd watch people going by and wonder why they wouldn't stop and help. Don't be the passerby—be the helping hand." (Best Places map: Granny's Creek runs through Sutton)

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