Water Relief Effort Collects About 750 Gallons

Supplies Aid People In W.Va. Affected By Spill

Posted: January 23, 2014

HARRISONBURG — About 750 gallons of water as well as numerous other supplies from Harrisonburg, Staunton and Front Royal were collected last week for an effort to help people who were without water in West Virginia.

Misti Furr of Stuarts Draft, who helped organize the central Valley effort, said about half the donations were dropped of in Staunton, with the remaining amount in Front Royal.

A chemical spill in the Elk River near Charleston, W.Va., on Jan. 9 caused officials to restrict water use for about 300,000 residents for several days.

Blue Ridge Insurance Services in Harrisonburg made a rather large donation of water, according to agent Steve Flora.

“Our owner, Karin Flagle, is from West Virginia,” he said, adding the donation was important to her because of the location affected. “She said anybody without water that needs help, she just feels like helping.”

On Jan. 16, Flora helped load a pickup truck and his Jeep with cases of water bottles, and helped bring them to the Frontier Culture Museum in Staunton.

“We had that truck loaded down to where it was really riding low to the ground. So, I know there was a lot in there,” he said. “I don’t know how many water bottles.”

In addition to water, people donated numerous cases of baby wipes, buckets, paper plates and cups. The items in Staunton, along with supplies collected in Front Royal, were then transported to West Virginia on Saturday, Furr said.

West Virginia officials began lifting the water restrictions for some residents on Jan. 13; they completely lifted the ban on Saturday.

“However, they were advising pregnant women to continue to only drink bottled water,” Furr said. “And, there are people who are still going to water distribution areas because I don’t believe they trust the water.”

Joe Fitzgerald, a former Harrisonburg mayor who was also involved in this effort, said the total amount donated is hard to figure, due to the way the items were collected and the fact that nobody was counting.

“It was ad hoc start to finish, friend to friend and neighbor to neighbor. The gratifying thing was how many people were thrilled to have a way to help out,” he said.

Contact Jonathon Shacat at 574-6286 or jshacat@dnronline.com

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