POMEROY — While Meigs County may not be in the path of hurricanes, residents and businesses in the region are no strangers to flooding.
So when seeing the effects of hurricanes like Irma and Harvey those along the river are here to help those impacted by the flooding and other damages as a result of the storms.
Dave Neutzling and Rick Patterson came up with the idea to load donations in Neutzling’s truck to take to Florida to help.
“We understand water damage,” said Pam Patterson, noting that in the last major river flood in 2004 they had three feet of water in the basement of their house. Store fronts in Pomeroy are often impacted when the river floods, leading to days of cleanup.
Rick’s wife, Pam, said that when Hurricane Harvey hit Texas Rick said that if they had their RV they would have been heading to Texas.
Then came Irma and a plan to help those in need.
The idea quickly spread with Brandon and Rana Bartee of Bartee Photography becoming involved in spreading the message through social media.
By Tuesday, donations began arriving at the doorstep of the Bartee’s studio and residence, with multiple other locations joining as drop off locations.
By Wednesday afternoon cases of water, diapers, cleaning supplies, paper towels and many other items were lining the store front along the sidewalk. Items were also placed inside the studio as the collection continued to grow into the afternoon and into the evening on Wednesday. One of the trailers was being loaded up on Wednesday evening to allow more drop off space at the studio.
Meigs County Department of Job and Family Services employees brought $200 in donations on Wednesday morning, including water, cleaning supplies and non-perishable items. Larry Byer explained that the employees at DJFS have a “Pay Day Jeans Fund” in which the employees can pay to wear jeans on pay day. The money in that fund is used for times such as this to help others.
Kyger Creek donated a pallet of water to the cause, while many other local businesses have jumped in and collected items or made monetary contributions to the trip.
Students at Meigs, Eastern and Southern Local schools are also assisting with the collection of supplies as are churches and the Los Cuervos Motorcycle Club.
While there are donations spots locally, Rana Bartee explained that there are friends from out of the area who also want to help with the donation drive. A couple of those individuals have ordered items through Amazon Prime to be delivered to the studio at 212 East Main Street in Pomeroy.
While the initial plan was to load the back of a pickup truck, at least two and likely three trucks and trailers are going to be utilized to transport the donations.
Pam Patterson said that if there were enough donations and vehicles to transport it was possible some of the supplies could be taken to the Houston area for Hurricane Harvey relief.
As many trucks and trailers as are needed to take the collected supplies will be found, rented if needed, to take the items to those in need, said Patterson.
The volunteers who will be making the trip to Florida will be spending a few days in the region to help with the recovery in addition to the taking of the supplies. They have a house in the region to stay in free of charge which will help with the cost of the trip, leaving gas money as the main expense for the group.
Needed supplies which are being taken to Florida include water, cleaning supplies, diapers, wipes and hygiene items. Clothing is not being accepted. Cash donations are also being accepted to offset the fuel costs for the multiple transportation vehicles.
Items can be dropped off through Tuesday at Bartee Photography studio in Pomeroy, Pizza Dan’s in Rutland, the Tire Barn, FISH CrossFit and Bethel Worship Center.
Sarah Hawley is the managing editor of The Daily Sentinel.