By Jim Workman
Assistant Managing Editor
Even with The Greenbrier Classic in town, the focus of Greenbrier County couldn’t only be on the PGA TOUR event, which is drawing thousands of spectators to the area.
Several days after storms ripped through the region, there are still area families without power and essentials like water and ice, as they struggle to get back on their feet in extremely hot weather conditions.
Which prompted action Thursday from those involved with the golf event.
Representatives of The Greenbrier teamed up with members of the PGA TOUR Wives Association, collecting and distributing food from Greenbrier Farms, water and ice in a storm relief effort.
They unloaded water at Lewisburg Fire Station No. 2 and handed out supplies to many people who are still without power and essential resources at the Lowe’s parking lot in Lewisburg.
Southern West Virginia was one of the hardest hit regions during severe storms last Friday.
“It’s been pretty rough,” said Kathleen Gladwell of Ronceverte. “We’ve been without power since Friday and without water two days. This really helps keep some foods cold and to have something to drink. I have a brother who is crippled and he lives by himself, so I’m taking things to him.
“But our spirits are good,” she added. “You have to keep your spirits up to keep on going. Everything is OK.”
“We’re adjusting,” said Laura Allman of Lewisburg. “You have to learn to be thankful for what you have. I’m very thankful. This is helping us out. I appreciate it very much. It’s hot but we do what we have to do.”
The PGA TOUR Wives were joined at the distribution point by representatives of the Red Cross, Boy Scouts, Lowes employees and various local churches and organizations.
“We try to make sure that we’re a part of every community that the tour reaches,” said DeAnna Pettersson, a member of the PGA TOUR Wives Association board of directors who was involved in the efforts. “We try to make an impact in every community we’re in.”
The PGA TOUR Wives Association, Inc., incorporated in 1988, is a not-for-profit corporation organized to render support and provide assistance to needy children and their families through the means of charitable events.
Mon Power/FirstEnergy set up its station at the Lowe’s location in Lewisburg last Saturday, giving bags of ice and water at no charge.
“(The relief station at the Lowes lot in Lewisburg) will be in place until the power is restored,” said John Norman, manager of external affairs at FirstEnergy’s Mon Power affiliate. “We’ll be here every day.”
Ice unloaded Thursday was trucked in from Mississippi.
“What’s going on here really speaks to the resilience of West Virginia’s people,” Norman said. “We’re telling customers in the Greenbrier, Monroe and Summers counties area to be prepared for outages through Sunday. We’re hoping to improve on that. Things are very fluid.”
The Greenbrier Classic has a growing reputation among golfers and the wives to be a must-experience destination on the PGA TOUR for a little rest and relaxation.
“We’re happy to give up some of our relaxation time and step away from the wonderful hospitality that we’re receiving at The Greenbrier to help this local community that’s been so good in supporting this tournament,” Pettersson said. “We like to help others. It’s the right thing to do. There’s a lot of needs.
“It’s a very humbling experience. We’re grateful to help.”
“The Greenbrier is eager to continue our efforts to provide support and comfort where we can to those affected by last Friday’s storms,” said Jim Justice, owner and chairman of The Greenbrier, through a press release. “Greenbrier County and Lewisburg were among the most heavily damaged areas in the region, with nearly 100 percent of residents and business owners losing power. The need for aid is greater than ever. As part of our ongoing effort, we are proud to welcome the PGA TOUR Wives Association and we look forward to working together as we strive to support people in their time of need.”
— E-mail: email@example.com