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January 14, 2014

Local churches donate bottles of drinking water

FAIRMONT — Local United Methodist churches have donated more than 14,000 bottles of water to people affected by the crisis in the Charleston area.

Pastor Jim Zinn of Walnut Grove United Methodist Church in Fairmont gathered with members of the community and local trucking company W.S. Thomas Transfer LLC on Monday afternoon to load a tractor trailer headed for Sissonville this morning.

George Abel, operations manager at W.S Thomas Transfer, said the company has been in business since 1899 and really wanted to help give back to those in need. He said W.S. Thomas Transfer has volunteered to take the water to Aldersgate United Methodist Church in Sissonville free of charge.

W.S. Thomas was bought by Online Transport in Indianapolis, Ind., last year and has continued its focus of helping the community and state whenever possible, Abel said.

All the water was purchased from the Sam’s Club in Morgantown for $2 a case, and the church bought 52 cases, Zinn said.

Zinn added that the church’s Woman’s Club donated $100, and members of other local United Methodist churches collected money to purchase the water.

“The Lord has really blessed us with being able to provide others with such large quantities of water in a time of need,” Zinn said.

Herb Hawkins, a member of Walnut Grove Church, was one of the men there to help load the truck Monday. Hawkins called W.S. Thomas to get them involved in the process.

The church started collecting the water Sunday and has done an outstanding job at helping the state of West Virginia in a time of need, Zinn said.

Members of the church and community continued to stop by Monday afternoon and drop off donations of water throughout the entire day.

Zinn said one couple donated 80 cases.

“It was common knowledge over the weekend that there were many people in the Kanawha Valley that were going to have difficulty without water,” said Ellis Conley, Mon Valley District superintendent of the United Methodist churches.

Dan and Sue Lowther are the area’s conference disaster relief coordinators. Conley said they went to the Charleston area Friday and were there all weekend.

The Lowthers are pastors in the Grafton area.

Conley knew the congregations in Fairmont would want to help any way they could, and using the Internet really helped spread the news

George Abel said the truck plans to leave between 9 a.m. and noon today, and the trip will be around 300 miles.

Email Kristen Talerico at or follow her on Twitter @KTalericoTWV.

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