Operation Compassion Provides Immediate Response to West Virginia Floods

By , July 25, 2001

On July 8, 2001, heavy rains started pouring down on the coalfields of southern West Virginia. In some places, eight inches of rain fell in a matter of hours. The tightly packed mountains and foothills transformed the swollen creeks into raging rivers, ripping apart homes and communities with immeasurable force. It left in its path concrete foundations where, just hours before, a community stood. Mobile homes and automobiles were strewn about and roads were completely wiped out.

On Monday morning, July 9, Michael Hartwell, coordinator of Operation Compassion’s Appalachian Dream Center, mobilized the Dream Center staff to deliver supplies to the shocked and grief-stricken communities. Within hours, cleaning supplies, food, water, blankets and mattresses were delivered to numerous areas of devastation.

Upon entering the towns, Operation Compassion saw families trying to piece their lives back together. The young and old alike were laboring through mud and debris to clean up the destruction that nature had left behind.

As they examined the damage more closely, Operation Compassion realized that God’s hand had protected the people of West Virginia. The degree of damage rivaled that of the Buffalo Creek flood of 1972, which had claimed the lives of 125 West Virginians. This flood claimed one. It is honestly a miracle that the loss of life was not greater.

People shared their losses with Operation Compassion as they handed out food and supplies. They freely expressed their gratitude and appreciation for the rapid response to their needs.

It is an awesome sight to see a team effort created in God’s name for the sole purpose of restoring hope and well being to those who have been torn down by unexpected events in their lives. The relief effort to West Virginia was a partnership of compassion by caring ministries, churches and individuals. Dr. John Nichols, President of Operation Compassion had created a network of warehouses, semis and staff to be able to respond immediately to U.S. Disasters. Larry Jones of ‘Feed the Children’ had donated to Operation Compassion 14 semis of water and cleaning supplies only two weeks before the disaster. Michael Hartwell and the Verndunville Church had asked for and received from A.T. Massey a 40,000 sq. ft. building and opened the Appalachian Dream Center.

Five semis of relief supplies were in stock and delivery began Monday morning and still continues by dedicated staff like Larry Hicks, C.M. Hartwell and many others. Numerous churches like Macarthur Family Worship Center, Princeton Church, West Logan Church of God, Shepherd of the Hills Ministry, Darlene’s Food Pantry and the Harvest Church in Edgewater, Maryland provided and delivered supplies and relief throughout the flood areas. Macarthur Family Worship Center provided over one thousand hot meals.

Operation Compassion delivered eleven semis of relief goods to West Virginia within the first fourteen days of the disaster. Over 267 pallets of critical items have already been distributed. The next phase of Operation Compassion will be to try and obtain building supplies to begin the massive reconstruction effort. Three semis of commercial wallpaper has already been donated and will be delivered to the Appalachia Dream Center and the Macarthur Family Worship Center for the flood victims of West Virginia.

Churches all over the U.S. are calling Michael Hartwell and making arrangements to send volunteers and needed building material.

It will take a lot of prayer and manpower for this area to fully recover.

To provide volunteers or supplies, call Michael Hartwell, Coordinator of the Appalachia Dream Center at:

Office: 304/239-6110
Cell: 304/687-5085

To help sponsor additional semis of supplies, please send donations to:

Operation Compassion
National Distribution Center
114 Stuart Road NE
Suite 370
Cleveland, TN 37312

Comments are closed