Gov. Glenn Youngkin travels to southwest Va. as clean up efforts continue

For the third straight day intensive cleanup efforts continued in the small town of Grundy - one of the hardest hit areas of Buchanan County from Tuesday histor
Published: Jul. 15, 2022 at 8:40 PM EDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

GRUNDY, Va. (WWBT) - For the third straight day, intensive cleanup efforts continued in the small town of Grundy, one of the hardest hit areas of Buchanan County after historic floods Tuesday.

As volunteers at Twin Valley Elementary/Middle School unloaded three additional tractor trailers filled with food and water, Gov. Glenn Youngkin dropped down by way of helicopter to thank first responders and help push supplies at the makeshift distribution center to those who needed it most.

As of Friday, the United Way of Southwest Virginia said they’ve received more than $100,000 in monetary donations from across the state. However, United Way Southwest President Travis Staton says according to early estimates, more than 100 homes and dozens of businesses were severely damaged or outright destroyed.

Staton says this doesn’t include the approximate 70 homes the United Way is still assisting, which were involved in floods that devastated the Hurley, Virginia last year.

He says while the money is needed it barely begins scratch the surface of the damage done by the floods.

“I would say this is easily into the $40-$50 million worth of damage,” Staton said.

With much of the early damage assessment complete, Staton says the United Way is beginning the long-term strategy of rebuilding in Grundy.

“Long-term recovery will really be where we’re heading now, and we’re trying to bring together the corporate partners and philanthropy to be able to invest in the rebuilding and the recovery efforts of this situation,” Staton said. “We’re also now managing volunteer coordination efforts of civic groups, faith-based groups from all across the country that are willing to come in and help do debris removal and muck-outs.”

After helping organize supplies for redistribution, Youngkin promised the local emergency personnel that he would work to get assurance from FEMA and millions of federal and states dollars pumped into Grundy to get the job of recovery done faster.

“The state is going to aggressively pursue a federal declaration, but first, we’ve got to finish the damaged assessment, and that’s what’s happening right now,” Youngkin said.

But for folks like Bill Moore, he says words alone aren’t enough.

“Words are cheap. Action is King,” Moore said. “The people of Grundy need help.”

Moore has operated an auto body shop, M&M Body, for more than 32 years alongside his wife and sons without ever once having to file an insurance claim. That all changed Tuesday.

He says he watched from his house on the hill as flood waters rushed over his customers cars and swept them away. Moore says he was able to save three tow trucks, but he lost six other big rigs. While the structure is still standing, he says his shop was virtually destroyed.

“It’s pretty tough when you stand on the side of the road and you watch your life get destroyed, and there’s nothing you can do about it,” Moore said. “And no, insurance is not going to take care of a dime of it. They’re not covering any contents of any kind.”

Youngkin also stopped by Moore’s shop to assure him that business like his and those whose homes were destroyed would be on the top of his priority as clean up continued.

In the meantime, donations of food and water are still needed, but volunteers say they need more shovels, gloves, mops, cleaning products, work boots and work gloves to continue the cleanup efforts. Those items can be donated at Twin Valley Elementary/ Middle school.

The United Way says it’s also continuing to accept monetary donations. If you would like to contribute to the Buchanan Relief Fund, you can do so HERE or call 276-628-2160 with questions.

Copyright 2022 WWBT. All rights reserved.

Send it to 12 here.

Want NBC12’s top stories in your inbox each morning? Subscribe here.