1928 - Alderson High School - 1968
Contact:  Mayor Travis Copenhaver 304-445-2916 / Margaret Hambrick 304-646-2439
PEOPLE ARE THE STARS  Many   differences   were   made   by   people   who   put   service   to   others   above   self.      Bobby   and   Judy   Hoover,   who   keep the   keys   to   the   Alderson   Community   Center   which   serves   as   Alderson’s   emergency   shelter,   were   called   about 11:00   p.m.   on   Thursday   night   and   asked   to   open   the   shelter.      They   responded   immediately.      They   only   expected to   be   gone   for   30   minutes   and   just   went.     A   couple   of   hours   later   when   they   thought   again   about   their   home,   they couldn’t   get   there   because   of   the   rising   water.      They   spent   the   night   at   the   shelter   like   many   others   whom   they were serving.  The   flood   waters   filled   their   basement   but,   fortunately,   did   not   get   in   their   first   floor   living   quarters.      The   Hoovers continued   to   serve   the   community.      Volunteers   pumped   out   their   basement   the   next   day   but   the   Hoovers   were   not there   to   empty   or   clean   it.      They   were   still   at   the   shelter.      The   smell   got   worse   as   the   flood   mud   further   decayed.     Finally,   on   Tuesday,   June   28,   Judy   was   able   to   get   free   to   supervise   a   crew   of   volunteers   to   empty   and   clean   the basement   somewhat.      Judy   said,   “The   smell   was   getting   so   bad   we   had   to   spray   air   freshener   in   our   bedroom   on the   second   floor   before   we   could   sleep.   I   can’t   tell   you   how   much   I   appreciate   the   help   to   clean   out   the basement.”  The   Hoovers   still   have   a   lot   of   work   to   do   to   get   it   back   to   relative   normal   but   their   huge   hearts   helped   a   lot   of people onto that path. Chief   Jeremy   Bennett   had   arranged   to   get   a   HUMVEE   for   the   Police   Department   and   he   picked   it   up   on   Thursday, June   23.      The   first   rescue   came   at   12:30   a.m   on   Friday,   June   24.   A   call   came   in   that   a   double   amputee   was   stuck in   his   home   on   Virginia   Street   and   waters   were   entering   his   home.   The   fire   department   reported   that   they   had   no way   to   reach   the   man   and   requested   that   Bennett   try   using   the   HUMVEE.   The   flood   waters   had   already   engulfed several   homes   and   vehicles.      Bennett   eased   the   HUMVEE   into   the   water      with   volunteer   Tim   Luce,   Presidio Studios,   watching   the   passenger   side   front   tire   for   water   depth.   Bennett      took   the   HUMVEE   down   Virginia   Street to   the   front   door   of   the   victim’s   home.   When   he   stopped,   water   began   to   enter   the   bottom   of   the   door   and   fill   up around   the   brake   pedal.   He   exited   the   vehicle   and   entered   the   home.   He   found   the   man   sitting   in   a   wheelchair   in his   kitchen.   He   was   visibly   upset   and   was   asking   for   his   dog.   Bennett   found   a   small   white   dog   and   handed   it   out the   front   door   to   Luce   who   waded   through   water   to   give   the   dog   to   AVFD   members.   Bennett   realized   that   he would   have   to   place   the   male   on   the   hood   of   the   HUMVEE   in   order   to   get   him   out.   He   pushed   the   man   out   his door   and   pulled   him   from   his   wheelchair.   Luce   jumped   onto   the   HUMVEE   hood   and,   with   assistance   from   a firefighter,   they   were   able   to   place   the   man   onto   the   hood.   By   this   time   water   was   waist   deep   and   the   town   was disappearing   under   a   watery   blanket.   The   man   was   reunited   with   his   dog   "baby"   and   both   were   driven   to   the Alderson Community Center emergency shelter. Mayor   Travis   Copenhaver   said,   “I   cannot   begin   to   express   my   appreciation   for   all   the   wonderful,   selfless   people in   this   town   and   around   our   valley   who   have   contributed   to   the   recovery   efforts.      We   have   a   lot   of   heroes   and these stories are about only a few of them.” Rebecca   Haynes   said   it   all   in   a   facebook   post   today   following   the   announcement   of   the   cancellation   of   the   July 4th   Celebration,   “Hang   in   there   family   and   friends   of   Alderson,   It's   your   compassion   and   love   for   one   another that brightens those skies, not the fireworks! Love y'all and keeping you in prayer.”
Chief Jeremy  Bennett (Click on photo for larger view)