Story by Valerie Morikone
Last year flooding in the southwest counties of West Virginia destroyed more than 300 small, privately-owned bridges linking rural homes to public roads. Those floods swept away the bridge in front of Mr. and Mrs. Cart’s home in Hamblin, W.Va. Though the Federal Emergency Management Agency provides public assistance for disaster relief, it does not offer individuals financial help, leaving people on their own to try and rebuild their access bridges.
Adventist Community Services (ACS) worked with the Mennonite Disaster Service (MDS) to help install a new bridge for the family that includes Mrs. Cart’s father. Only two days after ACS completed the bridge, he had a medical emergency that required an emergency vehicle to pick him up. “The medical staff told us that if the bridge had not been there, my father would not have survived,” she says.
Situations like Carts’ are what inspire Mountain View Conference (MVC) ACS leaders to participate in the Bridge Project headed by Jenny Gannaway, state chair of West Virginia Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster (VOAD).
“ACS in the Mountain View Conference is committed to helping as we can with this amazing humanitarian effort. Twenty-eight thousand dollars of Campaign for Community dollars have been donated so far to meet this great need,” says Larry Murphy, MVC ACS director. “Only the first 15 bridges bridges have been completed. There are hundreds more to build and lives are still in danger.”