Russell County

Update: Volunteers donating time, money, supplies for construction of bridge

Washed Out Bridge

RUSSELL COUNTY, Virginia - After a story aired a week ago about a family's bridge that was washed away thanks to Mother Nature, complete strangers have come forward to lend a helping hand.

"You just never know what life is like until you're stranded," said Clifford Williams.

His family's bridge in Honaker, Virginia washed away during a storm about three weeks ago, leaving them without a way on or off their property. "As a result of the story, a lot of people have came forward and stepped up to the plate to help," he told us Tuesday.

Russell County Department of Emergency Management Director Jess Powers contacted us about William's situation. He said the county couldn't help pay to repair the bridge because it's on private property.  "We got a huge response from the story," Powers said.

One of the first people to call Powers and offer to help was Connie Hess. She said she reached out because she's been in a similar situation. "When I saw him, I knew the heart break and desperation of being stranded," she explained.

Hess estimates she's contacted about 50 people to rally volunteers to help the family she's never met. "Even though I don't know that man, never seen him before in my life, I consider him a neighbor. And as it says in the Bible, love your neighbor and help your neighbor," she said.

Powers said he's had calls from all over the region including Kingsport, Tenn., Abingdon and Norton, Virginia and even Banner Elk, North Carolina. People have donated money, supplies and labor for the construction. "I can't find the words to describe how thankful I am right now," said Williams.

According to the Virginia Department of Transportation, the next step in the rebuilding process is for county officials and Williams to apply for land use permits from VDOT and a permit from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to do in-stream work. Once the permits are approved, a local construction company is volunteer to begin the work.

If you would like to help, please contact Jess Powers, Russell County Department of Emergency Management Director:

Physical address: 656 Clydesway Drive, Suite A
Mailing address: P.O. Box 997
Lebanon, VA 24266
T: (276) 889-8146 or (276) 889-8247; F: (276) 889-8248
Mobile: (276) 701-9775; Dispatch: (276) 889-8033

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