Community effort helps flood relief

An editorial from the Parkerburg News and Sentinel 

PARKERSBURG, W.Va. — More than a month after devastating flooding turned 12 West Virginia counties into federal disaster areas, residents and business owners in those regions are just now beginning to see some order in the chaos of their recovery effort. Importantly, one of the reasons for that restored sense of organization has been a number of private individuals and companies who stepped into do things government simply cannot.

In what is being called a public-private partnership, West Virginia native Brad Smith chairman and CEO of financial software company Intuit, has introduced RISE West Virginia, an “an all-hands-on-deck approach to getting people back in business and back to work, and ensuring our communities rise beyond this disaster and become stronger than ever before,” according to Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin.

Grants, software, resources and support will be made available to small businesses in one of the 12 counties included in the federal disaster declaration, with a verifiable and operational business at the time of the flooding, and in good standing with the state, that can also demonstrate need to a review committee. The goal is for the program to raise $2 million, through private donation but also state money that would otherwise have gone to the Racetrack Modernization Fund.

While supplies and manpower are still needed in many of the hard-hit areas, money and other kinds of financial support are essential to moving into the next phases of recovery – maybe even rebirth. Locally, Peoples Bank is among the organizations pledging assistance – in their case, matching up to $10,000 in donations that will be forwarded to the American Red Cross and West Virginia Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster.

Red tape and bureaucracy can carry folks only so far. With the help of individuals and businesses such as those behind the RISE West Virginia effort, the Mountain State can take the next steps it needs to be better than ever.

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