Weeks after flash floods ripped through the Ohio Valley, cleanup continues and many families still need more help.
As our 'Honor the Badge' series continues we have more on the efforts of the men and women who were first on the scene of the devastation. McMechen Police Sergeant Chelsea Morris says every day their department is still helping families dig through the mud and debris to try to get their lives back together, "Some people had as much as 6 feet of water in their homes down on 21st Street. We actually had an officer go across to try to check in to make sure that everybody was out of their homes and everybody was safe," Sgt. Morris said.
In Ohio County, Elm Grove and Woodsdale were some of the hardest areas hit. Some of the people you may not have thought were on the front lines,the city of Wheeling operations department, "It was heartbreaking you know, especially for a lot of the older people you know, we tried to help them as best we could, they just seemed lost. Because, the way this storm hit, it hit neighbors and it hit houses that have never been flooded before, so these people didn't know what to expect and how they could do it to clean everything up," said Wheeling City Operations Director, Rusty Jebbia.
McMechen's City Building was damaged so badly, right now officers work out of a Billy Graham mobile unit in Center McMechen. Sgt. Morris says, on her last paycheck, she had over 60 hours of overtime, but the love of their city kept them going, "We all kept each other going you know that's why you do this job, to help them and give back. These people have become family to me, and there isn't a thing that I wouldn't do for the resident here."
Rusty Jebbia said, "It was Wheeling you know, and all of our guys live here and they're just trying to help their neighbors and they wouldn't want all of this to happen to them without any help so we're just trying to pay back people and do whatever we can to support it."
At Quaker Steak and Lube at the Highlands, a free lunch was served for all first responders as a simple way of saying 'thank you' to all departments for putting their lives on the line.
First responders said, even if it's only lunch or a thank you or even a hug; it matters, "Thanked us for our time, thanked us for bringing them supplies day in and day out," Sgt. Morris said.
Wheeling Firefighter, Robert Heldreth said, "We truly appreciate you doing this for us, but there are so many people in the community that are still working every day."
Sergeant Morris said even without a police station right now, the department is still working everyday in McMechen.