WVSOM employees, students lend helping hands following floods

It is said that in times of need people will come together.

That’s exactly what the West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine (WVSOM) faculty, staff and students have done to help residents and communities in West Virginia who have been affected by the record rainfall that hit the southeastern and central portion of the state on June 23, 2016. 

Within two days after the storm subsided, WVSOM employees and students began helping with general flood clean-up, collected and distributed multiple car and truck loads of donated items to Rupert, Alderson, White Sulphur Springs, Renick, the local United Way, and the Greenbrier County Humane Society.  They also raised more than $4,000 according to Shannon Warren, WVSOM Alumni Association director. She, along with WVSOM employee Joyce Martin, have helped coordinate the School’s flood relief efforts.

Student volunteers continue to provide hands-on assistance to local residents in White Sulphur Springs and Rainelle who are impacted by the storm – removing large household appliances and furniture and ripping out carpet and flooring covered in mud. 

“We are a community and going into this profession means we want to help people in any way that we can,” said Ethan Stephens, WVSOM Student Government Association president. “A lot of people lost homes and loved ones and we wanted to do what we could to alleviate the stress of dealing with this. I can’t even imagine having to go through something like that and losing everything you have. It was eye-opening.”

Staff and students aren’t the only members of the WVSOM community joining together to offer physical labor and monetary donations — faculty members are also involved.

According to Craig Boisvert, WVSOM vice president of academic affairs and dean, faculty members are providing medical evaluation and assistance to victims alongside the West Virginia National Guard. On Tuesday, two physicians were in Rupert and another two in White Sulphur Springs — with more planning to volunteer in the latter part of the week.

Jill Cochran, Ph.D., an assistant professor in the Clinical Sciences Department, spent the entire weekend distributing tetanus shots to victims and volunteers working in the flooded waters. She began the weekend at the Robert C. Byrd Clinic, headed to a local church in Rupert, assisted at the Quinwood Fire Department and ended the weekend going door-to-door at specific flood areas ensuring people received the vaccination.

Cochran’s son, who works for Fairmont Supply Company, an industrial cleaning distributor headquartered in Washington, Pa., coordinated an estimated $10,000 donation of cleaning supplies and water for impacted communities. The shipment arrived Wednesday afternoon on the WVSOM campus, and will be distributed to community organizations for those in need.

WVSOM’s Robert C. Byrd Clinic, in cooperation with the school, received a donation of 200 pairs of Rocky mud boots for those affected to be distributed through community organizations.

“I’m proud that our faculty, staff and students are joining together to help the community members who are always supportive of WVSOM,” stated Michael Adelman, D.O, president of WVSOM.  “They are once again demonstrating their passion to serve our community.”

WVSOM will continue to accept donations for distribution at the alumni center on campus.  

For those not in the immediate area who would like to assist in disaster relief efforts, monetary donations will be accepted and can be made payable to the WVSOM Alumni Association, marked as “flood donation.” Payments can be mailed to: WVSOM Alumni Association, 400 Lee Street North, Lewisburg, WV 24901.