Walk raises funds for flood relief

BUCKHANNON — About $3,000 has been raised so far in flood relief efforts and that was celebrated Sunday in a walk through town.

West Virginia Wesleyan College collaborated with the Upshur Cooperative Parish and other local churches for the walk which began at Jawbone Park.

Rev. Alicia Rapking, director of the Upshur Cooperative Parish House, welcomed those in attendance and said there was a two-fold purpose in having the flood relief walk be an event and not just a fundraiser.

“It would have been very easy if we just said, ‘let’s just take up money and send it to do flood relief,’” she said. “ We could have all gone home and gone on with our afternoon, but there is a purpose why we are here. The first reason we are here is to bring awareness to our community that something is going on and our community has come together to bring attention to a need in our world.

“There is always something going on in this world that we can be in thought about, that we can be in research about and that we can get behind. Today, it is flood recovery.

“We know what it is to have floods in Upshur County,” she said. “We have a history of that. We know what it means and we remember what it means for these other folks to take months and years to get back on their feet. So, we are here to draw attention to what we are doing so our community can be aware.

“By walking, we make ourselves think about the people we are helping,” she said. “They are people just like you and me. They are people that if we were in their situation, they would be doing the same thing for us. With each step we take today, we have the opportunity to pray, to grieve, to connect, to bring all the good energy forward and to make an impact on people we don’t even know who are our brothers and sisters.

“Thank you for coming and thank you for your commitment  to continue to do something to help our world,” she said. “Everything we do to help someone  else brings some good will and peace to a very troubled world.

After the June 2016 floods that devastated counties in the central and southern part of the Mountain State, a local man began volunteering and that led to a job opportunity with the West Virginia Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church.

Buck Edwards is a construction site coordinator with the Annual Conference.

He discussed the structure and organization and listed several projects that are ongoing.

More than a year after the floods, Edwards and others are still working to get families and individuals into new homes.

“We just provided a mobile home for a lady last week,” he said. “We are building five houses, and the house we purchased from Fred Eberle Technical Center will be moved to Clendenin for a family there.”

This summer alone, about 600 volunteers descended on West Virginia from all parts of the country to help with various flood relief projects.

And Edwards said there is always a need for more volunteers.

“The big point was for me that the government can’t fix the problem,” he said.

“It takes volunteers, churches and organizations to come out and help the recovery take place.”

Create Buckhannon provided sound equipment for the event. Buckhannon Rotary Club also brought coffee and some corn hole boards for entertainment. The Wesleyan Small Group Jazz ensemble was scheduled to provide music before the event.

On Oct. 28, the United Methodist Churches of the Upshur Cooperative Parish are sponsoring an early disaster relief training at First UMC from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Contact Rapking at the Parish House for more information or to register at 304-472-0743.

Rapking said, “It gives us the opportunity to be prepared if a disaster were to hit our area, we would be able to help.”

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