Buckhannon OKs request that will help coordinate volunteers

The Inter-Mountain photo by Sarah Goodrich Mayor David McCauley, left, presents Lauren Brooke Stewart with the annual Elizabeth “Pinky” Poundstone Memorial Scholarship as her father Mark Stewart smiles proudly. The $500 scholarship is awarded to a deserving student seeking to attend college whose parent or other guardian is or had been an employee of the City of Buckhannon. Mark is a 22 year veteran police officer for the city.

BUCKHANNON — Buckhannon City Council approved a request that would allow the Buckhannon Volunteer Center to serve as a central location for emergency and disaster volunteer opportunities.

During Buckhannon City Council’s Thursday meeting, Sarah Campbell, volunteer center coordinator, explained that Volunteer West Virginia has asked Volunteer General Fund grantees to consider in promoting volunteer opportunities for disaster relief. Buckhannon received grant funding from Volunteer West Virginia back in April to form the Buckhannon Volunteer Center.

Campbell explained there are two parts to the partnership — the first would be to advertise and post volunteer opportunities needed for emergency and disaster situations across the state on the newly launched website.

“It doesn’t require us to anything that we’re not already doing. We’re already posting needs on our site. This would just be adding needs across the state that would refer specifically to emergency and disaster relief,” Campbell said.

The second portion of the partnership is for the volunteer center to serve as a physical disaster relief volunteer reception center.

“This doesn’t put anymore liability on us. Liability for volunteers still lies on the organization you volunteer with,” she said. “It just means that we become a physical place for volunteers to come and meet at if they’re responding to situations like this.”

Campbell noted the volunteer center would provide information on organizations addressing the disaster or emergency and connect the volunteers to the correct contact person.

In the event that large groups of volunteers show up to the central location, Campbell said, “all but one person will be sent to Jawbone Park until the volunteer coordinator has found a volunteer opportunity and can contact all relevant parties.”

Council member CJ Rylands made a motion to accept the request, followed by a second from Robbie Skinner. The motion passed unanimously.

“I have been participating with Volunteer West Virginia with the flood clean up in Rainelle, and it’s a good organization. They’re very efficient. They we’re very helpful as far as where we needed to go, how long they needed us, what they needed us for,” Skinner said. “So I think it’s very beneficial because when something bad happens, it’s chaos. And we don’t want to think about that but in a small town like Rainelle, where you think you could easily figure out what needs done, when there’s vast disaster, it’s nice to have a central location with people who are trained and also knowledgeable as to where the most help is needed and how much.”

In other news, council also:

• Approved the final reading to rezone 1 Armory Road from C2 — Highway Commercial to an Industrial District.

• Approved the final reading to rezone 52,54 and 56 S. Kanawha Street from R2 — General Residential District to C1 — Central Commercial Business District.

• Recognized Lauren Brooke Stewart as the 11th recipient of the annual Elizabeth “Pinky” Poundstone Memorial Scholarship.

• Assigned the task of the Good Neighbor Property Cleanup Program to the Housing Enforcement Board.