Several flood events in the spring of 2015 damaged over 300 private stream crossings (bridges) in southwest West Virginia. Homeowners who cross streams to get to their homes are either driving through the stream bed, using a neighbor’s bridge if they can, or parking on the other side of the stream and walking across a temporary walkway or a neighboring bridge. Because these are private structures, the government cannot help directly, so the only potential assistance is voluntary organizations like MDS.Volunteer in WV Bridges
What MDS Is Doing
Together with the WV VOAD, MDS is rebuilding private bridges in the areas around Clendenin, WV. Volunteers will stay at the Stillwaters Ministries building near Clendenin. The jobs will involve physical labor, working with concrete and steel for the structure and oak planks for the bridge decking. MDS will place small crews on site, because the jobs will not need large numbers of volunteers.
At present, MDS has completed 42 bridges.
West Virginia is nicknamed The Mountain State, and its many mountains are cut by narrow valleys containing roads, streams, and homes. WV is known for its natural beauty and wonderful outdoor opportunities, and the tourism sector is one of the major employers in the state. Average household income in WV is among the lowest in the US, and unemployment is among the highest. The decline of the coal industry has contributed to the decrease in jobs.