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Bringing aid to Harvey-stricken areas

South Boston NewsSouth Boston News
Top, the devastation in Houston, viewed up close by a team of rescuers from Mecklenburg County. Above, Drivers for Parker Oil Company prepare to embark for Texas with fuel supplies in tow.
SoVaNow.com / September 06, 2017
Good Samaritans throughout Mecklenburg County are doing their part to bring comfort and aid to people in Texas and Louisiana who have been devastated by Hurricane Harvey.

The storm pounded communities in southeast Texas and Louisiana, ripping apart homes, flooding cities and towns and knocking out power for thousands. The National Weather Service has called Harvey “an unprecedented natural disaster,” with damage estimates already reaching past the $100 billion mark.

A caravan of seven fuel trucks from Parker Oil in South Hill made an emergency trip to Texas this week, delivering petroleum to residents suffering from the ravages of Harvey.

On Wednesday, Melissa DeJarnette Chumney, her husband Jonathan and Dylan Stembridge loaded up a truck with their boat and supplies and headed off to the storm-stricken region.

Arriving Thursday morning in Orange, Texas, the trio went to work, scrambling to save people and animals from catastrophic flooding. Melissa Chumney described the first rescue mission in which she and the others recovered three dogs, a rabbit and a pig left behind when a family with four children was evacuated.

“We rescued [the animals] from a house that had flooded. We couldn’t get to the dropoff point with them because they had to open the dam. So, we are headed back the way we came to take them to a lady that agreed to take them in,” she said of the animals.

I talked to the owner on the phone and my heart breaks for her family that is now en route to family in Florida” — where another powerful storm, Hurricane Irma, is predicted to make landfall this weekend.

The volunteer trio spent three days traveling around Texas and Louisiana, collecting people and animals stranded by the floodwaters. At one stop, they rescued a man, his dogs, chinchillas, and a cat from the roof of his house. At other stops, there were farm animals — goats and donkeys among them — to save.

The man they picked up, Glenn Graham, was so thankful to be rescued that he spent the next two days running relief missions with the Chumneys and Stembridge.

Melissa said there were moments of levity — particularly when local law enforcement took a liking to a pig she helped to rescue — but for the most part, the experience was highly emotional. More than once Chumney said she was reduced to tears: “There are truly no words to explain the past three days. We have met some of the most amazing people, ever! If people could always show this level of compassion and gratitude, our country would be a much better place! I’m blessed to have been a part of it,” Chumney wrote in a social media post.

About the time the Chumneys and Stembridge were returning to Clarksville, Curtis Campbell of Nelson was loading a trailer with bottled water, diapers, blankets, baby formula, and other essential items to give out to the people of Texas. Friday evening, after a blessing delivered by Joey Tucker, pastor at Gravel Hill Baptist Church in Buffalo Junction, Campbell and his family were headed off to Texas.

Driving to work Tuesday morning, Campbell reflected on his weekend and the people whose lives have been “turned upside down” by the hurricane. “Think of those that can’t get their Fruit Loops or coffee this morning as they start their day as they’re used to. I’m thankful we were able to touch as many as we could and very thankful for making new friends that were willing to do God’s work,” he said.

On Sunday, Poplar Pointe Marine and The Shady Shack Grill in Bracey hosted a Hurricane Harvey Relief fund raiser on Lake Gaston. They were joined in the effort by members of The Konnection Band.

The organizers secured the use of a large box truck to collect non-perishable food items, clothes, emergency essentials, water, blankets, and snack foods that were sent to the Operation Compassion for Texas relief fund to aid victims of Hurricane Harvey. On Saturday, members of the South Hill Fire Department hosted their annual bucket drive fundraiser, pledging to donate half of the proceeds collected to the victims of Hurricane Harvey.

Other organizations collecting funds and emergency items for the hurricane victims include:

Mecklenburg Baptist Youth Group in conjunction with Samaritan’s Purse. To arrange a donation contact the Mecklenburg Baptist Youth Group via Facebook.

Castle Butcher Shop, 597 S. Main St., Chase City, has a truck leaving on Sunday. They are collecting non-perishable food items, personal hygiene items, diapers, bottled water, blankets, clothing, flashlights and batteries. Those interested in donating should bring items to the butcher shop by Sunday morning.

CEO Circle in conjunction with The Luke 638 Way asks that arrangements be made for the pickup of items such as water, baby wipes, diapers and toiletries, which will be delivered on a truck leaving Sept. 27. You may contact Angela Curtis at (804) 512-8035 or .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).



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