Approximately 300 people gathered at the White Sulphur Springs Civic Center Friday, Jan. 20, to celebrate the efforts of Neighbors Loving Neighbors in helping to rebuild homes and lives around West Virginia after the devastation of the floods that ravaged the state on June 23.
Originally founded in conjunction with The Greenbrier Classic to provide canned food to hungry families throughout the Mountain State, Neighbors Loving Neighbors transformed its focus following the horrific floods to providing support to those impacted by the waters. Since then, the organization has teamed with agencies such as Appalachian Service Project, Mennonite Disaster Services, West Virginia VOAD and many others to help construct or rebuild more than 350 homes around the state.
“It’s been amazing to see all of this wonderful work being done and to witness the appreciation from the families that needed help so desperately,” said Habibi Mamone, president of Neighbors Loving Neighbors. “This has truly been a collaborative effort, and I’m so appreciative of all of the different organizations that came together to make this possible.”
As part of the festivities Friday, Jill Justice, president of The Greenbrier, presented a check for $200,000 to Neighbors Loving Neighbors on behalf of West Virginia native and country music superstar Brad Paisley. The Glen Dale native was one of the first to step forward to provide assistance after the disaster and has pledged to continue providing support beyond Friday’s donation.
“I love West Virginia and was devastated by some of the horrific pictures I saw of the disaster in Greenbrier County and throughout West Virginia,” said Paisley, who toured parts of West Virginia immediately following the floods but avoided the Greenbrier County area out of respect for the rescue efforts that were still ongoing at the time. “I’ve been committed to doing anything I can to help, and when it came to distributing money, I wanted to find a place where all of the money went directly to those who were impacted by the floods. So Neighbors Loving Neighbors was a perfect fit, and I’m proud to be associated with their ongoing efforts.”
On behalf of Neighbors Loving Neighbors, Mamone also made two check presentations, giving $500,000 each to Appalachian Service Project and Mennonite Disaster Services to help those relief organizations continue the work they’ve done to help those impacted by the floods get back on their feet.
“These organizations have been wonderful, and we want to continue to do anything we can to support their efforts,” said Mamone. “There is still work to be done, and we are going to continue to work together to make sure it happens.
“Everything we purchase for these projects is purchased locally, which provides another boost to the area economy. Better times are ahead thanks to the work of all these organizations and the donations of so many generous people.”
Also on hand were representatives from the offices of West Virginia Senators Joe Manchin and Shelly Moore Capito, who read statements of appreciation from the senators to the assembled guests.
Local business owner Tom Crabtree made another major announcement about a new community park that will be constructed in downtown White Sulphur Springs. Local resident Mark Bowe, the host of “Barnwood Builders” on the DIY Network, will provide the frame from an old barn to use as a picnic pavilion for the new park, and the construction of that building will be featured on his show. The project is another collaborative effort involving several groups, including Neighbors Loving Neighbors.
For more information on Neighbors Loving Neighbors and the work the organization is doing throughout West Virginia, visit www.greenbrier.com/neighbors.