WV Governor: Thank You from Governor Tomblin
I would like to extend my heartfelt thanks to all West Virginians, and all our friends from near and far, who are going above and beyond the call of duty to help our state through a difficult and unprecedented time.
On Friday evening, severe storms ripped through the Mountain State, leaving a record 688,000 homes and businesses without power. Within hours, we declared a statewide state of emergency and devoted all state resources to begin restoring power, cleaning up, and taking care of the many West Virginians affected. I worked with our state emergency management officials through the night to make sure federal assistance would be on the way by daybreak. Since then, we’ve been out in communities meeting with local first responders and outages have been cut in half. I’ve seen firsthand the storm’s tremendous impact and met with folks struggling to meet their needs with no electricity for miles in every direction.
Our utility companies and emergency management officials are doing everything possible to get us back on our feet again. All major roads are now open, and we are on our way to getting the lights back on. The entire state has pulled together to weather this storm. Our National Guard and hundreds of community groups are going door-to-door to check on those without power. Businesses are opening their doors and passing out food, water and ice. Local organizations are hosting cooling stations and shelters. Thousands of people have come from other states to pitch in. Even with this remarkable effort, it will take time to recover from the violent storms. Please stay calm and be patient. We have a lot of work left to do, but we will get through this together.
As I’ve surveyed the damage, I’ve met with many folks who are without power and have damage to their homes. The most memorable thing about these visits is the compassion of our people. At every single stop, I’ve watched folks generously working to help others despite their own hardships. People who have seen their own homes severely damaged or even destroyed are nonetheless helping others clean up. Jimmy Gianato, our state Director of Homeland Security and Emergency Management, received a call late Friday evening telling him his home had been struck by lightning and burned to the ground. Jimmy hasn’t skipped a beat: he has been working around the clock to oversee the state’s recovery efforts. And he isn’t the only one; I have met thousands of others who are setting aside their personal struggles to help others.
Our state is truly blessed with some of the most compassionate and resilient folks in the world, and I’m honored to be your governor. Thanks to each and every one of you.