Jessica Lilly Published

Meet a W.Va. Water Hero


Water donations from across the country have poured into Wyoming County since our original report.  The folks in Bud and Alpoca were dealing with unpotable water, running a dark brown at times, months before the chemical spill in Charleston. Another donation arrived at Herndon Consolidated School Tuesday, but this time it from another elementary school in northern W.Va.

January 9 a chemical spill contaminated the water source for more than 300,000 customers in West Virginia’s capitol city and the surrounding area. A state of emergency was declared, the National Guard was called in to assist with water distribution, and donations arrived from groups across the country.

Around that same time, Sarah Haymond was teaching a lesson to her 3rd grade class at Blackshere Elementary in Marion County. Haymond decided the best way to teach about community service, was to coordinate a water drive for the folks affected by the chemical spill.

The state of emergency is still in effect for nine counties but Haymond didn’t feel the need was as great. So she began looking for other places in W.Va. with a water need and that’s when she found the town of Bud.

About 500 people have been on a boil water advisory since September and it’s not a state of emergency. The Alpoca Water Works system is dated and without an operator. The owner is working to turn the utility over to the Eastern Wyoming County PSD but it’s not a simple sale.

While it’s worked out, residents seem to be caught in the middle; purchasing water for things like drinking, laundry, and cooking for about six months.

“I showed the students in my class the pictures that I found on the internet from the sinks and the waters and they couldn’t believe it,” she said. “For little kids it’s just something they don’t think about not having water.”

The third graders collected about 65 to 70 gallons of water. The shipment arrived at Herndon Consolidated School on Tuesday. The school has served as central drop off place for donations and residents to find relief.  

MacKenci Fluharty is one of several Blackshere Elementary third grade students that contributed to the Bud water drive.  Listen below as she shares what she learned from the project.

Listen to Mackenzie Fluharty, a W.Va. third grader, read her lessons from the water drive.


Mackenzie Fluharty (right in blue shirt) along with her class was excited to help with the water drive.