Billie Jean Calvert is a shift manager in our Mt. Hope facility. She recently shared with us what the past several days have been like after West Virginia was pounded with snow earlier this week due to Hurricane Sandy. Some of it has been good, some has been less than ideal but in every situation, there is a silver lining.
On Monday October 29th, the news station was calling for heavy snow fall in the mountains. Associates of GCS in Mt. Hope were making preparations. Since the power outage we faced this past summer still looms in our minds, we tend to panic just thinking about being without power. Some associates came in early or worked late Monday to prepare just in case they were unable to work on Tuesday, which they were not.
Bread shelves and milk coolers were sold out at most stores from people buying as much as they could just in case the outage was as grim as initially predicted (up to 10 days).
Around 7pm, snowfall began to add up fast and a lot of homes saw their power begin to flicker and we took care of last minute details to prepare for a dark night.
Although Mt. Hope didn’t lose power for a long period of time, a lot of associates did in Fayette, Nicholas and Raleigh Counties. Some places locally saw as much as 23 inches of snow!
On Monday night, West Virginia was declared to be in a state of emergency and it was discouraged for anyone to be out on the roads unless it was an extreme emergency. By Tuesday morning, there was no chance of being safe on the roads. Trees were down and Highway 19 was closed, making it impossible for anyone to get to their destinations.
The line men and crews have worked diligently trying to restore power; however, as of today, there are still 54,000 people in West Virginia still in the dark.
A huge number of associates lost power and are still without it today. Some have also lost access to water. I, myself, am without power and am using the piled up snow on my deck as my refrigerator.
On the bright side, nights are relaxing and situations like this encourage families to spend more quality time together as they are piled up in front of the fire.
Each time I tend to the wood burning stove to keep my house warm, I ponder on times past when people had no other means to heat their homes. My Grandmother always had a fire burning and the smell takes me back to times spent with her on winter nights. Those are memories I will cherish.
Although, I’m certain that my 3 kids will be thrilled when the power comes back on and will be gaming and texting to make up for lost time, I am also certain that we have made some great memories that they will never forget. Families come together stronger than ever in times of need and I know I have greater respect for my husband through times like this. He has worked 12 days straight getting ready for the snowfall/helping others after the storm’s effects. He will have worked 15 days before having a day off and still comes home and cuts wood for us and ensures that we are all as comfortable as possible.
And the support doesn’t just stop at home.
Here at GCS Mount Hope, we are offering snacks throughout the day and working with each associate on their scheduling.
We are an extended family and will support each other just as we do our own families.
Thanks to Billie Jean for submitting this amazing first-hand account of what Sandy’s snowstorm was like for our friends in West Virginia. We continue to keep our GCS associates and their families, along with those affected by Hurricane Sandy, in our thoughts as the recovery process begins.