By Tina Alvey
Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin conferred with the state’s National Guard units and various emergency response coordinators via video teleconference Wednesday.
Reporting on behalf of Battery C 1/201st Field Artillery, the National Guard unit stationed in Maxwelton, were SFC Timothy Liptrap, SSG Wyatt Oscar, SSG Clifford Brown and SSG Robert Hanna.
Before the briefing, Liptrap explained that his unit was tasked with attending to public health and wellness in Pocahontas and Randolph counties during this week’s unseasonable winter storm. Those two counties were among the state’s hardest-hit by snowfall and resulting electrical service outages.
“We had a three-man team in Elkins (Randolph County) earlier today,” Liptrap said Wednesday. “They said there was 2 feet of snow at the command center there.”
Nearly 16,000 people were still without power in Randolph County late Wednesday afternoon.
Much of Pocahontas County was also without electricity, as more than 7,000 households were reported on Mon Power’s website as suffering outages. According to Liptrap, the power company had advised those customers to plan on another 24 to 48 hours without electricity.
Hanna, who had just returned from health and wellness checks in Pocahontas County, advised the governor that the Salvation Army, American Red Cross, National Radio Astronomy Observatory and church groups were serving meals at various locations around the county.
With the exception of W.Va. 39, which remained closed at the Pocahontas/ Greenbrier county border due to fallen trees, all other roads were passable, Hanna reported.
Liptrap told the governor his unit required no other resources at this time.
“I certainly do appreciate all you’re doing,” Tomblin responded. “If there’s anything you and those communities need, let us know.”
Major General James A. Hoyer, the state’s Adjutant General, was at the governor’s side during the teleconference.
“Keep pressing as best you can to get people taken care of,” he encouraged the guardsmen.
Battery C 1/201st FA boasts about 69 members, according to Liptrap. In addition, a 16-member detachment whose main base is in Kingwood drills with the Maxwelton unit.
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