May 30, 2019 was a day of flooding in Harman, WV, in Randolph County. Governor Justice declared a state of emergency for Randolph, Preston, Tucker, Pendleton and Grant counties to recover from the flooding damage.
Two of the larger bridges destroyed in the flood were the Molly Street Bridge and the Blizzard Gate Bridge. The rebuilding of the Molly Street and Blizzard Gate bridges, which was completed with Presbytery of WV and Presbyterian Disaster Assistance funds, will transform and reconnect the lives of 30 families affected by the flooding on May 30, 2019.
Keep in mind that these counties, and these families, have also been hard hit by long-term economic factors. The closing of mines, persistent poverty and exploitation, increased alcohol and drug usage, lack of access to quality food resources, and lack of access to basic healthcare have all played a part in the increasing need of these communities. The flooding that damaged and destroyed homes and bridges is just one more factor in the destabilization of the region.
The care and energy we choose to expend now building and rebuilding these foundations make a significant difference in the life and future of these communities. Every bridge we build is a statement of hope, a sign of God’s love and care for the least of these.
The Mission Committee granted the bridge project $6,000, and Presbyterian Disaster Assistance granted $10,000. These grants, along with grants from partner organizations (Mennonite Disaster Assistance, The Seventh Day Adventists) and funds donated by the community and the county, raised the $146,000 needed for volunteers to build these two bridges. We are proud to have been able to assist in the funding of both bridges and to be partnered with other organizations who care so deeply for the people of our state.