BUCHANAN COUNTY, Va. (WRIC) — Communities in southwestern Virginia are continuing their long road to recovery after severe flash floods in July. Disaster relief crews from the Southern Baptist Convention of Virginia are in Buchanan County to help however they can.
Joey Schnepf, a volunteer from Crewe Baptist Church, said he’s been involved in disaster relief work for three years.
“We’re doing it, of course, to be the hands and feet of Jesus,” he said. “We’re not doing [this] for personal gain or anything else, but you do get satisfaction out of making things a little bit better than when you [get] there.”
This week, Schnepf and nine other volunteers from area churches are replacing drywall in people’s homes, doing insulation, removing mold, cleaning up six-inch-deep mud, and handing out gas cards for people’s generators.
“It’s kind of bleak looking around, but just that glimmer of hope can keep you going forward,” Schnepf said.
Heavy rains caused catastrophic flooding across the southwest region of the state on July 13. It washed out homes, roads and bridges.
Ishmael LaBiosa, the media coordinator for the Southern Baptist Convention of Virginia (SBC), said crews have been on site since the severe weather hit Buchanan County.
“You would think it would be easy to pick up the pieces and move on, but really it makes such a footprint there,” he said.
LaBiosa described the site as something like the aftermath of a hurricane.
Some people’s possessions are destroyed, but their homes’ foundation and their faith remain strong.
“When our disaster relief volunteers go out, they’re trained for these types of scenarios. They’re not sleeping in nice hotels with air conditioning and [pools] to jump in and things like that. In most scenarios, our volunteers actually sleep on the church floor,” LaBiosa said. “These volunteers really do rough it out. “
SBC of Virginia received nearly $7,000 in gifts to help families recover from the floods. Schnepf added that they’re in need of more volunteers.
Disaster relief crews will wrap up their work in Buchanan County this week, LaBiosa said.
Then volunteers will be sent to Wise County, Virginia to help with the recent floods that have also impacted eastern Kentucky.