Resident given award for effort during Superstorm Sandy

A Randolph County resident was honored Saturday for her part in helping others in need during Superstorm Sandy. Tyrand Cooperative Ministries Director Belinda Toms received the Humanitarian of the Year Award during the Independent Order of Odd Fellows Awards Dinner.

Each year for the last 11 years, the Randolph County IOOF has made the Humanitarian of the Year Award to a Randolph County resident to recognize those helping others in the community.

“We are the only IOOF lodge that makes this award,” said Larry Ferguson, Grand Treasurer of the Grand Lodge. “We do this to honor those who are reaching out to help others in the community.”

When Superstorm Sandy whipped through our area leaving thousands of residents without electricity, heat and communications, Toms worked with her volunteers and staff to meet the needs of residents.

“We opened a shelter at Tyrand and took in those who needed shelter,” Toms said. “We had folks in the area who were on oxygen, and were without electricity. We also operated a warming station and cooked meals for those who had no way to cook. Another problem was stores were not open so folks had no where to get food to cook.”

Toms had the shelter open at Tyrand Cooperative Ministries in Mill Creek on Oct. 29, and continued to operate the shelter for 12 days, until residents could return to their homes.

“We served meals each day, and those needing food could eat at Tyrand or take meals home,” Toms said. “We served a total of 2,640 meals the 12 days we were open. During that time we received so many donations to help provide meals to those in need. We had donations from Randolph County Schools and the Elkins Lions Club. We are also grateful to Strohman Bread, IGA, Bob’s Mini Mart and Dollar general for their cooperation and assistance in getting for to feed others.”

“I was very surprised to receive this award, and very honored,” Toms said. “I think everyone at Tyrand Cooperative Ministries deserved this award. It says a lot for the work Tyrand does for this community.”

Tyrand offers emergency assistance in times of need with food, clothing, medications, rent, mortgage and utility payments and more.

Tyrand is also involved in a home repair ministry for the elderly, handicapped, and less fortunate in the Tyrand ministry area. Adult and youth groups come to the area from many states to experience “hands on” discipleship by responding to these repair needs.