There is no question that the June flooding wreaked havoc in all the Greenbrier Valley. Lives were lost. Even those who were not directly affected may have lost employment, the ability to get to necessary appointments, and just their sense of well-being.
What has made it all bearable has been the outpouring of love, warmth, and donations of everything from clothes to washing machines to money and especially labor.
Alderson was fortunate in so many ways. No lives were lost there, thanks to the heroic actions of first responders. The final crest was about two feet below what had previously been experienced. By Saturday, it seemed like every volunteer fire department in Monroe County was in Alderson with pumps asking whose basement needed pumped next. Federal and state prisoners joined volunteers from everywhere to help haul trash and clean. “Mount Trashmore” in the Johnson Memorial United Methodist Church parking lot grew and diminished and grew again as trash was brought in and then hauled away.
FEMA has come and helped and physically gone but are still helping. The Red Cross remains available as do many local organizations which have been established to provide specific help. Politicians are checking back to see what has been done and what still needs to be done. Full recovery, especially for those whose homes were lost or damaged and who lost loved ones, will take a long time.
Meanwhile, how can you help? Alderson’s businesses are up and running and need your support. The Green Grocer and the Sunnyside Deli and Café have been open since the week after the flood. The Alderson Thrift Shop has been open as well. Alderson’s Store and Bridgewalk Shops were not affected and have remained open – bright spots for a little retail therapy. The Alderson Community Market only missed one Saturday, and the Alderson Visitors Center, designed to withstand flooding, was cleaned up and back in operation in days. The Alderson Artisan’s Gallery saved all of its inventory and is opening soon in temporary quarters in the Alderson Visitors Center. Asian Athletics continues to provide classes in the Renaissance Building while waiting for final repairs. Wolf Creek Gallery, operated by Patti Grafton, will open as soon as its space is repaired. The Big Wheel Restaurant, unaffected by the flood, re-opened almost as soon as the power came back on. The Subway was surrounded by water but was back in operation very soon.
Mayor Travis Copenhaver said, “Take a break and come to Alderson, have lunch or dinner and visit our shops. We are ready to welcome you!”