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VFW Magazine January 2017 : Page 27

PHOTO BY JOE DASHIELL/WDBJ7 LEFT: Thousands of water-damaged books litter the lawn of the Rainelle Public Library in Rainelle, W. Va., in July, following a devastating fl ood in June. Of the 23 people killed in the fl ood, 15 were from Rainelle. VFW Post 4484 also was destroyed by the fl ood. can’t help because they themselves are hurting.” In the true VFW spirit of giving, Posts from Virginia donated to cleanup and recovery efforts in the devastated area. Post 1115 in Hillsville, Va., gave $1,000. The Department of Virginia also donated $1,000. Goddard, who is the VFW national programs chairman for 2016-17, personally donat-ed $1,000 to relief efforts, and his wife gave $500. A group of past Department of West Virginia commanders pooled $960 to support the Post. “Every Post member is on the committee [to fi nd a new Post home],” Goddard said. ‘IN THE GO OF IT’ Two hours from Rainelle, members of Post 9097 in Hurricane, W.Va., put in 350 man-hours to help those affected clean up after the devastating fl oods. According to Post Commander Harold Chipps, the Post served as a drop-off location for donations. Members distributed donations throughout a 40-mile radius of the Post. “We had people coming from out of state to deliver [goods],” said Chipps, who served with the 82nd Airborne Division in Iraq in 2003. “We served for a month as a drop-off point. We were very busy for awhile.” The Post delivered more than nine trucks and trailers full of clothes, food, cleaning supplies and household goods. Chipps said several members were directly affected by the fl ooding. “We actually went over and redid devastated homes,” Chipps said. “We took out damaged insulation and installed new. We installed hot water heaters. We were hands on and helped with things that were damaged.” He said Post members helped roughly 50-75 veterans and their families. “We don’t do it for the accolades,” Chipps said. “The people of West Virginia really came together and helped out tremendously. We were glad to be able to spearhead and be in ‘the go of it.’ ” As of October, fi ve counties remained in a state of emergency, per a proclamation issued in September by West Virginia Governor Earl Ray Tomblin. ✪ EMAIL PHOTO COURTESY OF KELLY GODDARD ABOVE: Kelly Goddard, 72, rushes along the Rainelle, W.Va., football fi eld during a charity football game on Sept. 24. The town raised more than $10,000 for area fl ood victims. Goddard was the oldest player on the team and scored a touchdown. “I got a standing ovation and everything,” Goddard said. “It took me an hour and 20 minutes to get from the fi eld to the locker room because everyone wanted to shake my hand and take a picture with me.” Goddard, who was a quarterback on his high school team, said the game was played with full tackles – “no cream puff” football, and he walked away with only one bruise on his arm. JANUARY 2017 • WWW.VFW.ORG • 27

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