Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

Local Sports

July 3, 2012

‘Relief effort’ to begin for those affected by storms

WHITE SULPHUR SPRINGS — Jim Justice, chairman and CEO of The Greenbrier, announced that a “relief effort” will be launched “immediately” for those in the region affected by the weekend storm.

In a Tuesday press conference held during The Greenbrier Classic, Justice said that PGA players and their wives have also asked how they could get involved in helping an area that was greatly affected by Friday’s storm that knocked out power and caused significant damage for hundreds of thousands of people and their property.

Many are still being affected by power outages.

The relief would come in the form of “food from The Greenbrier Farms, manpower and dollars,” Justice said, adding that details are still being worked out.

“We’re still crossing some T’s and dotting some I’s,” he admitted.

“I’m doing everything I can do and giving everything that I have,” Justice said.

“My heart and prayers are with all of those that are hurting,” he said.

With an event the magnitude of The Greenbrier Classic on the horizon, storm cleanup had to begin immediately to ready the property, and The Old White TPC golf course, for tens of thousands of spectators and a PGA TOUR tournament.

While hundreds of Greenbrier employees and contractors sprung into action on Saturday, Justice made an appeal for volunteers who may want to jump in and help.

Hundreds did, and the course and resort miraculously was ready when the gates opened on Monday.

But there was also a segment that expressed displeasure with his call for volunteers. The backlash of criticism hurt, Justice admitted.

“It’s time to tell the real truth, it hurts,” he said. “It cuts deep. The arrows are tough.

“Of course, the most critical needs needed to be met first, like the hospitals, nursing homes…taking care of family members,” he explained. I didn’t want to take anything away from people helping themselves.

“This week, we’re potentially going to have a third of our state’s population in town. To have no power, no water, no gas for thousands of people coming this week…it would have been another disaster.

“This event is important to our state. Sen. (Joe) Manchin has jumped in and Gov. (Earl Ray) Tomblin has stepped in and helped. If you’re a resident of this area, you were a beneficiary of help coming to this here.  It didn’t take away from helping you, it helped you.”

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