Leaders in the Big Stone Gap District are pleading for donations and volunteer help after heavy rains and flooding damaged surrounding property at Camp Fort Blackmore.
In fewer than 12 hours, from early morning until late afternoon on Aug. 19, more than five inches of rain fell on Fort Blackmore and Big Stoney Creek, according to the Rev. Ed Blair, chair of the camp's board and pastor at Three Bells/Horton's Chapel UMC.
"Our buildings are located on high ground and were not flooded. However, our surrounding property was damaged," he said. Damage includes:
- Three bridges (two leading to and from the lower picnic shelter and one to the Ball Fields)
- Wash-outs on the roads leading to the ball field and at Creek Cabin
- Two washed-out power poles with lost power to all buildings
- Flooding in the pool filter house and well house
- Ground water infiltration into the well
- Uncovering of sewer and water lines at Creek Cabin
- Damage to picnic shelter along with lost picnic tables
Blair estimated the damages will cost $2,500 to $3,000 to repair.
"We are not insured for this loss, and I am well aware that our district budget can not cover the costs," he said. "We will begin to make emergency repairs as soon as the waters recede. I would expect to have equipment on-site for repairs by Monday (Aug. 30)."
Last week, the Ft. Blackmore fire department used a small fire truck to wash mud from the Hill Side Cabin. Repairs to the water and sewer systems have already begun, too, Blair said.
Churches and individuals could help by taking special offerings within the next few weeks or participating in a Sept. 3 golf tournament at Cedar Hills Country Club. The tournament is an annual fundraiser for the camp. Hole sponsors are need for $100. Golf teams are also needed at $65 per player.
Volunteer work crews are also requested after Sept. 5.
The Rev. Archer Coppedge, Big Stone Gap District superintendent, thanked church and community for their "help, support, and prayers."
"The damage severely limits what we can do in ministry through the camp. We deeply appreciate the work crews and gifts coming to the camp," Coppedge said. "Local residents of that community have also experienced loss resulting from the flood. We are working with them to repair and recover."
Monetary donations should be made payable to and mailed to: Big Stone Gap District Office, 101 Gilley Ave E., Big Stone Gap, VA 24219.
Volunteers may contact the Rev. Ed Blair at (276) 431-2091, (276) 220-2227, or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Other questions: Call the district office at (276) 523-3025 or e-mail email@example.com.