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Local Group Gathering To Help Storm Victims

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It's a distant memory to most people now, but some area residents still haven't been able to repair all the property damage they suffered in the June derecho and Superstorm Sandy. But a group of nonprofit organizations and caring residents in Central West Virginia is making sure those people aren't forgotten.

"Disaster doesn't end when the storm does, it continues, and with our economy, too, a lot of people went without food at that time and without checks, and they're now still trying to catch up," said Rev. Bonnie Starkey, whose church, Mt. Hebron United Methodist Church in Jane Lew, hosted the meeting.

Starkey and others have joined with Voluntary Organizations Active in Disasters to form the Region IV Long-Term Disaster Recovery Group. The group met in Jane Lew Thursday afternoon to begin laying the groundwork to take action in their communities. Group leaders are working to find out where the needs are, so they can provide help as soon as possible.

"We are, in the process of today's meeting, reaching out to communities to find people that were affected by the disaster to let them know that there is help and resources available. However we need to find them and identify them," said region president Gilbert Valdez.

In the meantime, both Valdez and Starkey want to get more people involved in the group so even more volunteers can be reached. They are hoping West Virginians will come together to help their own.

"I'm hoping for people to step up and say, 'It's time to help each other again. maybe we weren't hit with a roof being damaged or something in our homes damaged or the disaster hitting us personally, but the next time it could be,'" said Starkey.

If you'd like to get more information about helping out, you can e-mail the group at Region4LTDRG@gmail.com.

Contact your local Office of Emergency Management if you still have repairs to be made from last year's storms.