Greg Hoover shows support for Wood County law enforcement

Local residents will be praying for and with law enforcement officers next Sunday at four locations in Wood County.

The second annual Wood County Law Enforcement Officer Prayer Walk/Drive was started by Greg Hoover, 48, of Parkersburg. Hoover is a sergeant first class in the West Virginia Army National Guard working in aviation at the Mid-Ohio Valley Regional Airport.

Hoover believes that police officers deserve our support and prayers after several were shot and killed across the United States. He saw the hate some police officers face.

As a Christian man, Hoover said, he started a Facebook page in support of law enforcement officers. With only five days of planning, 304 people showed up to pray for police officers at last year’s inaugural event in Wood County, he said.

The four prayer sites on Aug. 20 are: 2 p.m. at Tomlinson Park in Williamstown, 3 p.m. at the Vienna Police Department on 29th Street, 4 p.m. at the Wood County Justice Center front lawn at Second and Avery streets and 5 p.m. at the Parkersburg detachment of the State Police along West Virginia 47.

Hoover is joining this year with Stout Memorial United Methodist Church in Parkersburg on the prayer mission.

Last year Hoover drove to all four locations to lead the prayers. With more help this year, Hoover will be participating in prayer at Tomlinson Park and the Justice Center.

His wife, Stacy, youth pastor at Stout Memorial United Methodist Church, and Stout Memorial UM Church’s pastor, the Rev. Cindy Eakle, will lead the prayer at the State Police detachment. Tom Woods from Stout will lead the prayer in Vienna.

The ceremonies will last about 15 minutes at each location, Hoover said. There will be time for the public to talk to the law enforcement officers, followed by prayer.

“We want to show local law enforcement officers we appreciate what they do. To show the community’s support,” Hoover said.

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On Thursday, a Parkersburg family of five, including three children, lost their home and possessions in a house fire on Pike Street.

The Sanctuary House at Beechwood Presbyterian Church, 703 30th St. in Parkersburg, is now the family’s refuge.

This year, a husband and wife from out of state were traveling through Ritchie County when their RV caught fire, destroying the vehicle and their possessions.

The Beechwood Sanctuary House became their refuge until the couple could get back on their feet several weeks later.

These are but two of the stories surrounding the two-apartment house, with attached laundry room, next to Beechwood Presbyterian Church that provides a haven for people facing a crisis.

Since 1998, the Sanctuary House has been providing temporary shelter for people who have lost their homes in fires, faced other calamities or are staying in town while relatives are having surgery at Camden Clark Medical Center, said Sanctuary House committee member Linda Davis Nelson.

The Sanctuary House is conducting a fundraiser to keep it operating — a chrysanthemum sale. Four colors of mums — rust, burgundy, yellow and light purple — are available for $5 for an eight-inch pot until Aug. 25.

The mums will be delivered to Beechwood Presbyterian Church and Linda’s Styling Salon in Williamstown for pickup on Aug. 25. Nelson is taking flower orders at 304-464-5282.

The Sanctuary House also has a yard and flower sale in May to raise operational funds. Donations also help to pay the $4,800 yearly cost for utilities and insurance, Nelson said.

But money is needed for repairs and upkeep on the Sanctuary House and to help cover these operational costs. Two grants — for $3,000 each — are being sought this year for the first time, said Nelson.

Nelson would like to see another church or two provide volunteers to help run the Sanctuary House. Members of the Sanctuary House committee man telephones around the clock to handle emergency calls seeking assistance.

Committee members clean the two apartments and wash towels and sheets. Money, clothes and personal care items are sometimes provided to people staying at the Sanctuary House.

People are referred to the Sanctuary House by the American Red Cross and Camden Clark Medical Center, Nelson said.

“It’s unreal the lives you touch” through the Sanctuary House, Nelson said. “It’s very fulfilling to help people who really need help.”

Contact Paul LaPann at plapann@newsandsentinel.com

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