Volunteer efforts help get students back in flooded school

Jack Latta jlatta@civitasmedia.com

August 15, 2013

McDOWELL — McDowell Elementary is back in session today three short days after torrential rains caused flash flooding which covered the campus in mud, water and debris.

Supt. Henry Webb made the announcement Wednesday that McDowell Elementary would return to classes on Thursday.

“This afternoon the health inspector approved McDowell Elementary to be back in session tomorrow. This could not be possible without the display of volunteerism from our team around the district and inspiring community members. We are humbled and honored to serve on such a great team that does whatever it takes for our kids.”

Volunteers and school staff members from around county were busy Monday evening and again Tuesday, trying to clean up after flood waters breached the oft flooded McDowell Elementary School. All Floyd County schools were closed Tuesday after county officials deemed several roads too unsafe for buses to travel. The day off provided extra manpower to help clean up McDowell.

Teachers and staff from other schools, as well volunteers from around the county, converged to help clean out mud and sanitize the building for the eventual return of students. The building and grounds will have to be inspected by the Floyd County Health Department before students will be allowed to return to class.

McDowell Elementary Principal Rady Martin said that he had never seen such an outpouring of support.

“I have never personally observed the enormous generosity, from so many, both known and unknown, which our school has received this week,” said Martin. “At a time when it seems the majority of news we hear is bad it is both refreshing and uplifting, to personally witness the best in people.”

Workers who aided in helping restore McDowell Elementary following the flood included: Left Beaver Fire Department, volunteers from Stonecrest golf course who provided lunch for the workers, and several work release inmates from the Floyd County Detention Center, and others.

McDowell Elementary, which has a history of flooding, is scheduled to be consolidated once a new high school has been built. Floyd County Board Chairman Jeff Stumbo said the project is still probably at least two years away, but events such as the flooding this week will likely encourage the board to try to speed up the process.