Shelter for Those Still in the Dark

By: Philip Stewart Email
By: Philip Stewart Email

February 15, 2007

Thursday night Louisa County Middle School's cafeteria planned to have its doors open for people who needed a place to warm up. Most of those people had been without power and, in many cases, without heat for almost two days.

"They're the basics of life," said Betty Rae Hiter, the shelter manager. "It's very difficult to live without food, water and heat."

At the school there was water, snacks, cots, and- most importantly- heat.

There were officials at the shelter, but just as many of the people helping out were volunteers. Richard Lindmeier knows first hand what it's like without power. During Hurricane Isabel he was in the dark for three days.

"Going down to the lake with the lawn tractor, and hauling water back to be able to flush the toilet, it kind of says maybe you ought to think about doing something," said Lindmeier.

And now he is doing something. He is volunteering his time to give back to his community.

The power had been out in Louisa for so long because many of the damaged lines were far from roadways, making it tough for crews to get the work done quickly.

Shelter organizers were in close contact with several power companies throughout the day Thursday.

"(The power companies) have been keeping us abreast of everything," explained Michael E. Schlemmer, an Emergency Services Coordinator. "You couldn't ask for a better team effort from all the power companies."

The team effort really kicked in around 7pm Thursday night. That's when a family of three, including two children, showed up. They chose not to talk on camera, but they had no heat in their home. It was an example of why the handful of volunteers and officials were taking a little extra time to give back.

"It always feels good to know that you can do for somebody else," said Hiter. "Hopefully when your need is there, someone will be there to help you, too. What goes around comes around."

Rappahannock Electric officials said they expected to have power fully restored by Friday.

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