Void of state and federal aid prompts community to step up in landslide disasterWritten by Bibeka Shrestha
The threat of another landslide isn’t stopping volunteers from facing the mudslide head-on and helping wherever they can. Local volunteers are working in the absence of state and federal aid for residents who find themselves banished from their homes indefinitely.
A community effort was launched last week to clean up debris on Landing Drive, allowing five families who live along the private road to get back and forth to their homes again. Contractors Colin Edwards and Johnny Lowe donated equipment, materials and time to clear debris. They’ve also installed a new culvert.
“I wanted to help these people that couldn’t get home,” said Edwards.
Volunteers worked two days last week to successfully clear the road.
“It’s been a pretty big job,” said Edwards. “It’s a lot bigger job than what I thought it was going to be.”
Edwards credited Maggie Valley Fire Chief Tim Carver for organizing volunteers and Marc Pruett, Haywood County erosion control officer, for writing permits to allow the work.
The Town of Maggie Valley donated gravel to replace the road bed. Others who have donated time or supplies to the cleanup effort on Landing Drive include the Maggie Valley and Jonathan Creek Fire Departments, and Pioneer Feed & Seed.
Two Methodist groups, Step by Step and United Methodist Committee on Relief, have dedicated time to helping residents affected by the slide nearly every day since it occurred.
They helped resident Kurt Biedler move all his belongings — including furniture — from his badly damaged home. The groups have also donated firewood to those families whose stockpiles were swept away by the slide.
Step by Step is based in Clyde and was formed after the floods of 2004. The group has remained active to assist in disaster relief since then.
The Haywood County chapter of the American Red Cross has received applications from 22 families for assistance.
Churches in Maggie Valley have a disaster relief fund set up at the Maggie Valley branch of BB&T bank that will be used to help residents.
Donations must be marked Greater Maggie Valley Natural Disaster Fund, Maggie Valley UMC and can be mailed to 4192 Soco Road, Maggie Valley, N.C. 28751.