(09/05/2005)
Reaching out in many directions, the State of West Virginia is relocating 500 homeless survivors of Hurricane Katrina to Camp Dawson in Preston County.

Residents of Calhoun County are reaching out to survivors through OPERATION NEIGHBOR, collecting canned and dried food to be trucked to the devastated area this coming Wednesday night.

"It is doing the possible," said County Clerk Richard Kirby, who is helping with the relief effort being sponsored by the Calhoun Commission.

"Cash contributions can be dropped at the County Clerk's office in Grantsville, and will be part of the county's audit," said commission president Larry McCallister. "We will see the money goes to direct services to the victims."

Calhoun residents are being asked to drop-off food items at the Grantsville and Arnoldsburg VFDs this Tuesday and Wednesday (Sept. 6-7) from 9 a.m. until 7 p.m.

Trucks and vans will be transporting the food to Hattiesburg, Mississippi, leaving Calhoun at 9 p.m. (Sept. 7) Wednesday night.

Commissioner Rick Sampson said Calhoun churches have endorsed the relief effort and are asking members to help with the project.

Wirt County residents are working hard to reach out to hurricane victims, and will likely be part of the caravan south.

The first of the hurricane victims have arrived in the state.

A National Guard 167th Airlift Wing cargo plane carrying 83 displaced Louisiana residents -- 53 men, 20 women, nine children and a dog - touched down at Charleston's Yeager Airport at 11:02 last night.

They were then taken to the airport Air National Guard base, where they were allowed to shower and eat.

Kanawha County ambulances were standing by to provide medical attention if necessary.

Chartered buses are taking them on a three-and-a-half-hour bus ride to Camp Dawson in Preston County, where Governor Manchin says they will be housed.

Manchin says West Virginia welcomes these fellow Americans with open arms.

Another two National Guard planes were expected to arrive at Yeager from the New Orleans airport overnight with three more scheduled to land later today.


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