Church members respond to massive car crash on I-77 in Galax

Church members respond to massive car crash on I-77 in Galax

Some Holston members were responders in the Easter Sunday crash that left three people dead and 25 injured on I-77 near Galax, Va.

All lanes were open this morning after fog caused a 95-vehicle pileup on Fancy Gap Mountain, according to the Charlotte Observer. Traffic was stopped for as long as 16 hours yesterday while busloads of stranded holiday travelers were transported to locations such as the Hillsville VFW Hall.

Donna Godwin, pastor at Glenwood United Methodist Church in Galax, was one of several who came to the VFW hall to assist and counsel travelers.

“There was a family with three young boys, all safe,” Godwin said. “The dad was describing the horrific events to us … I can only imagine there will be many sleepless nights and nightmares, but our God is bigger than that. They were not letting it ruin their vacation, and they were pressing forward with their plans.”

Godwin said she spoke with other families, too. “They were very, very thankful to be alive and well,” she said. “They also expressed great thanksgiving and appreciation for the way the community came together to care for their needs.”

Members of Glenwood church took food to the VFW, Godwin said.

Members of Mount Olivet United Methodist Church in Galax took beverages, snacks, and fruit to the VFW and also drove stranded travelers to hotels for the night.

“That’s what God wants us to do, to go help out when you can,” said Donna Delp. “That’s what we’re here to do, is serve one another.”

Delp and husband Greg were visiting with their daughter and son-in-law, Ashley and Gary Linville, when they heard about the Sunday afternoon pileup near the Virginia-North Carolina state line. The Linvilles are members of Mount Pisgah United Methodist Church in Greensboro, N.C.

Delp called her pastor, the Rev. John Grimm, to ask if church money was available to buy snacks for stranded travelers. More than a hundred uninjured victims were expected to be transported by school bus to the VFW – where the American Red Cross had set up a shelter – but  only 24 arrived, according to the Charlotte Observer.

The Delps and Linvilles arrived to find that food and volunteers were plentiful, but they helped two groups find hotels for the night. Greg Delp transported a Canadian couple with dogs to a hotel, while Donna Delp assisted three college students from Jacksonville, Fla.

“Their car was tore up and not drivable,” Donna Delp said. On Monday morning, one of the students called to let Delp know they were able to retrieve their belongings from the destroyed car and a family member from Florida had arrived to drive them home.

Members from First United Methodist Church and Out of the Box Worship Center in Hillsville, Va., were first responders at the tragic scene, according to the Rev. Ronnie Collins.


Annette Spence

Annette Spence is editor of The Call, the Holston Conference newsletter.