Virginia farmers come to aid of West Virginia flood victims

virginia logoFarm Bureau producer members in Virginia have stepped up to provide assistance to victims affected by recent flooding in West Virginia.

“I feel like farm and rural folks have to stick together, and Farm Bureau people like to help others even when we don’t know them,” said Jessica Pittman, co-owner of Hopeful Dreams Farm in Hanover County. Pittman serves on the Hanover County Farm Bureau Women’s committee, and her husband, Ben, is a native of Greenbrier County, W.Va., which was hard-hit by the flood.

The couple sent three trailer-loads of supplies to those who lost everything.

“The flood happened Thursday (June 23), and when we watched the national news Saturday night and saw that his hometown of Rainelle was completely wiped out, we looked at each other and knew we had to do something,” Pittman said.

They started a GoFundMe campaign and raised $10,000 to buy supplies for West Virginia residents. They also collected donations and loaded up one of their horse trailers. When they returned from that first trip, another Farm Bureau member offered the use of an 18-wheeler, and they began filling it with supplies like canned goods, cleaning supplies, water, toiletries and pet food. Donations continued to roll in, and they filled a third trailer with school supplies and books for a flooded elementary school.

In Southwest Virginia, a member of the Montgomery County Farm Bureau led a similar effort.

Jon Coburn, owner of a horse-boarding facility and the Bull and Bones Brewhaus & Grill in Blacksburg, collected supplies and delivered four van-loads, three tractor trailer-loads and two truckloads of water, cleaning supplies, clothing and food to the neighboring state.

“Jon went above and beyond during the flooding of his home state of West Virginia,” noted Joseph Johnson, a Montgomery County Farm Bureau insurance agent who works with Coburn.

Coburn also prepared and served meals for more than 1,000 West Virginia residents over a two-day period. When he returned to Blacksburg, he sponsored a benefit concert at his restaurant and donated the proceeds to flood relief.

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