Once again we rally around
In the pre-dawn hours last Thursday morning, I walked down from my home in Bolivar to witness the dreadful fires that destroyed four buildings, two apartments and left eight businesses with no place to call home. My eyes filled with tears and goose bumps rose when I saw the remains of places I have shopped-places owned by my friends.
Reverting to “reporter” mode, I spoke with firefighters on the scene to learn that hot spots were a concern; there were two cats who did not survive; park service buildings were not damaged. There were no answers as to why or how.
I posted breaking news on our Chronicle site along with photos of the many pieces of firefighting equipment and of the brave men and women who were working so hard to make sure the damage was as minimal as possible. I spoke briefly with Ross Morgan who was there as part of the Shepherdstown crew assisting with two pieces of equipment. We shared the thought that something just like this could easily happen in downtown Shepherdstown. The buildings join each other in Harpers Ferry just as here. Thankfully there was a break between two of the buildings where the townspeople had created a “town deck” area. That potentially helped stop rampant spread of the flames.
Before I could make the trek back up the hill from Lower Town, my Facebook page and text messages were blowing up with comments and concerns from not only around our county, but our state and farther.
Everyone then, and since, has asked the simple questions: “What can I do? How can I help? And help is coming in many ways. Fundraising events are set up around the area including the upcoming 5K this weekend as well as “spirit nights” at local restaurants. A Restore Harpers Ferry ‘Go Fund Me’ page has garnered thousands of dollars as have pages set up for specific businesses lost.
The generosity and sincere desire to reach out and help those who have faced such a tragedy by hundreds does so much to lift one’s spirits and show the good still to be found in humanity. I know that the efforts are beyond humbling to those who have lost so much. To see their friends and neighbors pitching in from the first minute whether it be by offering coffee/food to the firefighters; shelter to those left without; jobs to those now unemployed or funds to help rebuild what was lost-the people of Harpers Ferry are in awe.
What a grand community in which we live where it is second nature to step up and say, “What can I do?” and then to do it.
(Please see at least a partial listing of donation resources in the story covering the fire in today’s Chronicle.)