BUCKHANNON — One local organization and one local business joined in the tornado relief efforts, headed by David Beckner, on Monday, December 20.
David Beckner, along with multiple volunteers, worked to gather donations and supplies to take to Kentucky as a way of lending a helping hand to West Virginia’s stately neighbor. The donations were made by groups and people from multiple counties for those suffering loss from the disaster. Most recently, Beckner and his crew set up shop in the vacant lot across from Floyd Signs. The donation site began on Sunday and will continue until 4 p.m. Tuesday, December 21.
The WV Classic Wheels Car Club got wind of the donations and wanted to do their part for the relief efforts. The club, led by President Jim Gifford, often supports local organizations and efforts throughout Upshur County. Gifford met with Beckner and other volunteers to donate a check for $1,000.00 to be used to purchase items for the victims.
“I feel like God put it on our hearts to help others. These guys aren’t just giving gifts; they are giving hope,” said Jim Gifford, the father of volunteer Jamie Gifford.
Buckhannon Lowes also wanted to make a small contribution by offering supplies to be used in the clean up and rebuilding efforts. Cody McGee, Lowes Store Manager, along with his associates, love supporting the community and its members.
“I have been with Lowes for eight years now and I’ve been a part of multiple different locations and it seems like every location that I’ve worked at, or been a part of, always finds a way to get involved with the community and do things like this,” said McGee. “We want to impact people and families around the state and around the country. We try to impact as many people as we can with it. When Dave [Beckner] and Robbie [Skinner, Mayor of Buckhannon] came to me with this specific situation and the great thing that Dave is doing, it was a great situation for us to get involved with. My leadership really takes it passionately and one thing that they love about working for Lowe’s is getting the chances to do things like this for their community and for other communities.”
Here in Buckhannon, Lowes is really involved in the community and says they will continue to be. McGee stated “not only does it look good on Lowes, but it looks good on the families and the associates that we give a chance to impact, as well outside of the company. So it’s a great thing and I was excited to be a part of it, but I’ve never been as heavily a part of a community as I have in the year since I moved here to Buckhannon.”
“Mayfield, Kentucky is a very small community, very similar to Buckhannon. I know that a lot of people here are very interested in donating and being a part of the recovery effort there because we know what it’s like to live in a small community that has faced it’s own set of tragedy over the years,” said Mayor Robbie Skinner. “West Virginia, of course, suffered a tremendous tragedy in 2016, when the floods came and ravaged the southern part of our state and Kentucky and other states came to our aid whenever we were in need, so I think it’s important for us to be good neighbors and give what we have to them, especially this time of year and all that they’ve endured.”
Beckner was at a loss for words, seeing what the community has done in such a short amount of time.
“What Mayor Skinner and Cody have done to get this off the ground is amazing. Before I came here, I was having a conversation with Robbie [Messenger] and Jamie [Gifford]. Robbie said we were in trouble. He said there are six Walmarts from Elkins to Grafton that are coming with four to six truckloads each. We thought we were done. We are full. There is no way.”
A simple idea of one truck of toys has turned into more than Beckner and his friends could have ever imagined. Currently, the group is looking for volunteers to assist in the transportation of donations. Anyone who owns a truck and trailer and can volunteer their time this holiday season may contact David Beckner at 304-613-6999.
After speaking to Pastor Ken of First Christ Church in Mayfield, Beckner was informed of a town just outside of Mayfield. A small town called Fulton housed close to 6,000 people. Due to its size and the lack of publicity around it, Fulton will now be the second stop for the group and donations. The men will leave Wednesday at midnight, as to be sure and arrive by early Thursday. The group will start in Mayfield and continue spreading the love in Fulton, Kentucky.