Youth Forward Scholarship Winter 2017 – Serving the Community

Name: Uriah Dalton Myers
From: Craigsville, WV
Grade: Grade 12 in 2017-2018
School: Richwood High School
Votes: 0

Serving the Community

My hometown of Richwood, WV was impacted in June 2016 by flood
waters. Almost 8 inches of rain fell in some spots in just 12 to 18
hours. That amount of rain in such a short time period is something
expected once in 1000 years according to the NWS. The flood waters
came up so fast and so hard that people did not have time to react.
There were 90 people in a nursing home that had to be handed, in
their wheelchairs and cots, through the water that was chest high on
the volunteers. Fortunately there was no loss of life but the city
was ripped in half. We lost our middle and high school, along with
our football and baseball fields. Many lost their homes and
businesses. There is no time for planning or training for disaster
assistance. You have a need and you just jump in there and do
everything you can to help your neighbors.

A clothing collection and distribution sight was established for
victims. I unloaded trucks loads of clothes and helped sort. The
high school baseball field was destroyed during this flood, along
with both the middle and high school buildings. I worked on removal
of debris from the field and total reclamation. The entire town was
affected. The outcome was that victims were clothed and fed and the
town put back on it’s feet.

As a senior in high school, it fell upon me and my teammates to lead
by example for all of those who helped clean up and reclaim our
baseball field. It was like a punch in the gut to see the devastation
that this flood caused. We had to be the example to the town and get
our field ready to play on. Our field is in the middle of town and
after weeks of work, it was better than ever. It was symbolic of
what a determined and hard-working team can do to recover. The town
looks at our field with pride and I am so honored to have been able
to work to make it happen for them.

Financing was the biggest obstacle in flood clean up. Local residents
and business owners have just lost everything. They are frightened
and angry. They are temporarily homeless or have lost their
livelihoods. We had to address that need first. We all need the
basics like food and clothing so that is where we started. Generous
surrounding communities sent food and clothing by the truck loads. So
much so that we had to ship the overflow to local churches for

This is just one of my volunteer services. I focused on this one
because of the impact it had on me. Our community came together for
a greater good. It is a shame that it took a disaster to show a
community how worthy it was of selfless service from friends both old
and new. I believe if more people would just stop thinking of
themselves and give to others in the form of volunteerism, great
changes would come. If you don’t care for each other, the world
can be a cruel and lonely place to be.

Volunteering provides valuable community services so more money can
be spent on local improvements. It unites people from diverse
backgrounds to work toward a common goal. It builds camaraderie and
teamwork. It strengthens the community by supporting families,
improving schools, supporting the youth and beautifying the
community. It promotes personal growth and self-esteem. By
understanding the community needs, it helps foster empathy and
self-efficacy. You learn a lot. You discover hidden talents that
may change your view on your self-worth. Through working with local
non-profit agencies, volunteers can learn about the functions and
operation of our government. Experts report that when you focus on
someone other than yourself, it interrupts usual tension-producing
patterns. Moods and emotions, like optimism, joy and control over
one’s fate, strengthen the immune system.

Join our Facebook group "Volunteers for a Better World".