PARKERSBURG - Wood County commissioners hope to make a decision Thursday on a request from the Mid-Ohio Valley Chapter of the American Red Cross for $5,000 to reimburse the agency for relief provided following area storms on June 29.
Meeting with the commission Monday, Sharon Callow, executive director of the local Red Cross chapter, said the agency was housed first at the armory then moved to Parkersburg South High School.
"The state deemed Wood County was the hardest hit, that's why they set up here. Volunteers came from all over - Oregon, California - to help out; about 200 including 50-60 local volunteers. I'm very proud of our Red Cross. And in the midst of helping with the storm relief, they went out to an apartment fire to help some folks. Some people may not think of a fire at a single-family residence as a disaster, but it is to that family," Callow said. "No matter what the conditions are, our volunteers still go out."
Photo by Pamela Brust
Sharon Callow, executive director of the Mid-Ohio Valley Chapter of the American Red Cross, met with county commissioners this week regarding a request for $5,000 to help recoup storm recovery costs. The commissioners agreed to put the request on Thursday’s agenda for consideration.
Callow said the agency is still receiving calls and inquiries.
"They are isolated, not many any more, but some still need help," she said. "People are asking for generators, material items; we can't buy those."
Commissioner Wayne Dunn asked if such requests for assistance were checked out.
"There are people in need then there are people who want to take," he said.
Callow said requests are verified.
Callow estimated more than 400 meals a day were served for 23 days, a total of 9,200 meals plus snacks during the storm recovery.
"Twenty people sheltered at the high school because there were no hotel rooms available. We probably served another 485 snacks in that 23-day period. I can't say enough about the staff who worked in the kitchens either," Callow said. "We also had teams of nurses, mental health counselors and caseworkers out. National brought in satellite equipment and there were numerous emergency response vehicles with phones, computers," she said.
Callow estimated food costs alone were at least $51,000.
"Our volunteers started the day around 6-7 a.m. and worked until 8 that evening every day, including sacrificing their own July 4 holiday plans with their families to help out. The community can be proud of all the emergency response agencies. Everyone pulled together," Callow said.
The director said more than $12,000 was expended for storm disaster services.
The director noted the Red Cross receives "no funding from the government. " Funds expended for the disaster services are provided through local means or from the national organization.
"We have never not helped in a disaster because of funds," she said.
Callow told commissioners West Virginia, as a state, could never afford to pay back the national Red Cross for all it has expended over the years in disaster relief services provided to the state.
"The national doesn't send us a bill, but they do expect us to be out there trying to recoup some of those costs if possible," Callow said.
"We will take your request under consideration and discuss it further since you were not on our agenda for today. We will place your request on our rolling agenda for Thursday. We will see what we can do and try to find a way to assist with some of the costs. I know the county wants to help," commission President Blair Couch said.