Voluntary organizations brave winter weather to rebuild homes for flood survivors

By: WV VOAD | Posted: Feb. 9, 2018 | Source: WV VOAD

WV VOAD and its member agencies wrapping up 10 building projects despite snow and icy conditions.

Rainelle Home

BELLE, W.VA. — Even during snow and ice storms in many parts of the state, West Virginia Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster (WV VOAD) and its member agencies are working in several counties to build new homes for survivors of the June 2016 flood.

WV VOAD and its member agencies have built and funded new homes in all 11 counties where flood damage occurred, and repair projects in all those counties are ongoing. Right now, volunteers are on site and have been working throughout the winter in Kanawha, Clay, Nicholas and Greenbrier counties building new homes for 10 families who were displaced.

Construction work is ongoing or about to be completed on homes in Clendenin, Richwood, White Sulphur Springs, Caldwell, Rainelle and Procious.

All these homes, which range from 900 square feet to 1,100 square feet in size, have been funded by donations and built by volunteer labor even as snow flies and temperatures have dropped below freezing.

Continuing the building process over the winter was difficult, but important to help get families back into safe, secure and sanitary housing and get their lives back together as quickly as possible. It took plenty of logistical planning and cooperation between WV VOAD and its member agencies.

“Our volunteer teams spent time at the end of last year, before the ground froze, doing as much prep work as possible, digging foundations and getting sites ready so we could do the finishing work even when weather was bad,” said Cathy Rennard, Disaster Case Management Supervisor for WV VOAD.

Volunteers with WV VOAD’s member agencies have come from around the country, as far as Kansas, Michigan, Maine and Illinois, to help with these particular rebuilding projects.

“Volunteers understand that when they come to West Virginia in the winter months, there is going to be snow on the ground,” said Sara Hambrick, WV VOAD Disaster Case Manager Supervisor. “They aren’t here to sit in hotel rooms. They are here to work, and when they’re here, they just want to accomplish as much as they possibly can.”

At times, when weather-related challenges occur, local volunteers and officials with county long-term recovery groups step in to assist with transportation and other logistical issues.

WV VOAD and its member agencies have been on the ground since the June 2016 flood assisting with cleanup, rebuilding and with the long-term recovery needs of survivors. The flood, which left 23 people dead and more than 3,000 homes destroyed, was declared a federal disaster.

“Logistically, it takes time to work through the cases based on the vulnerability of the clients,” Rennard said. “The majority of these flood survivors have had multiple challenges to work through, from financial hardship to age and physical disabilities.”

Each new home that’s now being built costs between $55,000 and $70,000. Families were required to invest any money they received in federal grants in the construction and the rest came from private donations, philanthropic foundations and contributions from WV VOAD member agencies.

“A lot of hard work is being done around the state and we appreciate all of our voluntary organizations and their dedication to work with us during the winter months,” WV VOAD Executive Director Jenny Gannaway said. “Our goal is to stay focused on the families so that every family is back in safe, secure and sanitary housing.”

WV VOAD is a humanitarian association of independent organizations that may be active in all phases of disaster. Its mission is to identify unmet needs and facilitate efficient streamlined service delivery to those imperiled or impacted by disaster while eliminating duplication of effort through cooperation, coordination, communication, collaboration in the four phases of disaster: preparation, response, recovery and mitigation. West Virginia is a member of the National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster.

WVUMC Disaster 2016 Update – Feb. 9, 2018

By: WVUMC Disaster 2016: A New Vision with Hope Facebook Page | Posted: Feb. 9, 2018 at 8:33 p.m. | Source: @WVUMCFloods16

Tempting as it was to make mud pies, we opted to work in mud that would suck your shoes off to build these steps and landing for the back door of a new home in Clendenin for a survivor family from the June 23, 2016 storms and flood disaster.

The WV United Methodist Disaster Recovery team schedules a team work day each month (okay, well, almost every month 😇) somewhere in the 12-county declared disaster region.

A few interior plumbing details remain for this home, and we should be able to welcome the owners with a house blessing in the next week or two.

Nine-foot elevation of the home was required for flood hazard mitigation.

Love my team!


Kanawha County Commission puts plans in place for new Clendenin Library

By: Kalea Gunderson | Posted: Jan. 25, 2018 | Source: WCHSTV

Clendenin is still a work in progress after the devastating flood in 2016, but one important facility in the town is set to be replaced.

At the Kanawha County Commission meeting Wednesday night, plans for a Clendenin Library were announced. It’s a project the commission will be funding with hopes to see it replaced as quickly possible.

Now it’s up to Clendenin leaders and the library board to get it started.

“It’s important to young folks, our teenagers, and the elderly of town, because a lot of people don’t have computers, so a lot of people could just go there and get books and read and reading is so important, and they’ve lost that, they have no place to go or even do their homework sometimes,” 25045 A New Clendenin Inc. Executive Board member Kay Summers said.

Summers and Councilman Dave Knight are on the 25045 A New Clendenin Inc. Executive Board and have been working closely with the Kanawha Library Board to come up with a plan.

“We’re going to receive $50,000 to help build out the library. We’re real excited about getting the library back open for the community,” Knight said.

The money was given generously by the county commission.

“If this takes a little extra money to get this done and get this moving, the sooner the better,” Kanawha County Commission President Kent Carper said.

It will fund construction of the 3,400-square foot space underneath the Clendenin Health Clinic.

“It would not be coming back if it were not for Commissioner Carper and General Hoyer,” Summer said.

“We thank them so much for not forgetting us and to help us keep rebuilding Clendenin,” Knight said.

In addition, FEMA money was reimbursed to Metro 911 and fire departments across the county to refund their fuel costs, workers compensation and lost or damaged equipment and to thank them for their continuous work.

“During that time period, during those weeks after the flood the members did work extra hard, a lot of extra calls, it was a lot of work,” Pinch Volunteer Fire Chief David Wagoner said.

The new space is not expected to the permanent location for the library, but it is expected to last several years. Plans for the new library space are expected to be completed within the next few months.

God Has a Plan for Clendenin

By Hannah Kessler Trautwein, Project Coordinator, Next Step Ministries

I’ll never forget the summer of 2016. At that time, I was serving in the role of Partnership Coordinator with Next Step Ministries in Braxton/Gilmer County. I had lived there for almost 2 years, working alongside some friends in a small town called Rosedale.

The week of June 19th, weather reports caught my attention, so the summer staff and I started preparing for heavy rains, and potential flooding. We had about 75 young teen volunteers with us that week, and I was very worried that I could have people under my purview in danger. The week passed and there was a lot of rain, some scary weather warnings, and a high creek leading into Rosedale. Other than that, I woke up on Friday the 24th and everything seemed okay. It wasn’t until later that day that I realized the weight of the damage done in other places. (more…)

WV VOAD still helping more than 700 families recover from 2016 flood

By: Carrie Hodousek | Posted: Jan. 22, 2018 at 12:01 a.m. | Source: MetroNews

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — More than a year and half later, the West Virginia Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster group is still helping hundreds of families recover from the June 2016 flood.

WV VOAD logo

“We’re still building houses, we’re still building bridges and repairing. I think we still have a way’s to go, but we’ve came a long way too,” said Jenny Gannaway, executive director of West Virginia VOAD.

So far, the organization has closed 1,300 cases. There are still 700 families that need assistance. (more…)

First Presbyterian of St. Albans pastor retiring after 15 years

Pastor Paul Romine of the First Presbyterian Church of St. Albans is retiring later this month after 15 years at the helm of the historic church on Kanawha Terrace. The church is planning a celebration of his tenure on Sunday, Jan. 28, at the church.

By: Ben Calwell, Metro Staff | Posted: Jan. 11, 2018 | Source: Kanawha Metro

Pastor Paul Romine’s eyes seemed to glisten slightly as he talked about missing the mountains.

They moistened a bit more when he talked about missing the people.

Romine, pastor at First Presbyterian Church of St. Albans, is retiring later this month after 15 years at the helm of the historic church at 201 Kanawha Terrace. (more…)

Clendenin Planning Commission Established, Facilitated by WVU Law

In the earlier months following the 2016 Flood, Kanawha County Commissioner, James Young, presented an economic development grant opportunity, through WVU, to the former Clendenin town administration. It was approved, applied for, and the grant was secured and passed on to the new administration when they took office.

A variety of local residents were selected and appointed to the new Clendenin Planning Commission. They include: Russel Underwood, Kevin Clendenin, Kay Summers, Mayor Shana Clendenin, Jeanie Ladd Bird, Dave Knight, and Susan Jack.

On Wednesday, October 25th, 2017 they held their first meeting, which was facilitated by the WVU Law Department. An election of officers was conducted, and Kevin Clendenin was named President, and Jeanie Bird, Vice President. Discussions of timelines, scope, bylaws, and other issues took place. <See Agenda and other documents>

The Clendenin Planning Commission Meetings are OPEN to the public. You do not have to live within town limits to attend and/or participate in these meetings. Everyone in Clendenin and the surrounding area is encouraged to attend.

The next meeting will be held Tuesday, January 23, 2018 at 6:30 PM at the Clendenin Rec Building located beside Town Hall. The third meeting has been scheduled for Monday, January 23, 2018 at the Clendenin Rec Building located beside Town Hall at 6:30pm.

Flood recovery effort continues in Clendenin

By: Blaine Carragher | Posted: Sep. 20, 2017 at 6:51 p.m. | Source: WSAZ watch video here

CLENDENIN, W.Va. (WSAZ) — While several are rebuilding around the country from the recent string of natural disasters, West Virginians are still feeling the impact from 2016’s deadly flooding.

“We don’t want to be forgotten in that list of all the other natural disasters that are going on,” Greater Kanawha Long-Term Recovery Committee executive director Susan Jack said.

Volunteers Help Rebuild Clendenin, West Virginia

A group of about 30 young volunteers went to Clendenin on Wednesday to give a helping hand, which flood recovery leaders tell WSAZ is still in high demand.

“I cannot stress to you how important the volunteers were to us and were to our area,” Jack said.

Wednesday’s volunteers were from all over the country and came to Clendenin as a church group.

While volunteer groups of all kinds are welcome, Jack tells WSAZ there is an even greater demand for skilled laborers.

If you’re interested in volunteering call (304) 539-9399.

“We’ve got this down to a science. The materials are on site ready to go. We just need people to come and let us finish the job here,” Jack said.

The Greater Kanawha Long-Term Recovery Committee urges people from all over to help. If you’re part of an out of town group, they can offer free lodging.

Help coming this summer for flood victims in Kanawha County

By: Leslie Rubin | Posted: May 26, 2017 | Source: WVAH

Flood victims in Kanawha County can expect some much needed summer help to arrive as the one-year anniversary of the devastating June floods approaches. (WCHS/WVAH)

Flood victims in Kanawha County can expect some much needed summer help to arrive as the one-year anniversary of the devastating June floods approaches.

Officials announced at the bimonthly Greater Kanawha Long-term Recovery meeting Thursday that eight to 10 groups from a variety of states are coming in about a month to volunteer at sites in the Elk River area.

In July, the Enact Community Services Group is sending 350 volunteers to identify 80 homes they can help rebuild. Next week, construction is starting on new homes thanks to the cooperation and help of several different agencies.

“For the people who are saying, ‘It’s about time,” believe me, the committee that I work with, we think that every single meeting,” said John Ballengee, chairman of the Greater Kanawha Long-term Recovery Committee. “We think, ‘Can we do this quicker, can we do this faster?” So this opportunity is a really good stepping stone to the next part of the recovery,”

With all the rain the area has had recently, cleanup volunteers said flood victims should be extra vigilant and take flash flood warnings and watches very seriously.

Greater Kanawha Long-Term Recovery Committee Continues Search for Volunteers

By: Hillary Hall | Posted: Jan. 24, 2017 at 10:33 p.m. EST | Source: WOWKTV

After having open heart surgery just days before June’s flood, Paul Richard relied heavily on volunteers to work on his Clendenin, WV home.

“They brought me a load of sheetrock and insulation. They were supposed to come back to help put it up and everything. I’ve never seen anybody since they brought the sheet rock,” said Paul.

Greater Kanawha Long-Term Recovery Committee Continues Search for Volunteers Photo 2

Members of the Greater Kanawha Long-Term Recovery Committee say volunteers have been in short supply for the last two months.