Cooling stations help

-A A +A
By John Barnhart

    The heavy windstorm that tore through the Bedford area knocked out power on the hottest weekend of the summer. Appalachian Power’s Web site stated that the storm left 60 percent of the company’s customers without power. The company estimates that it will take until Friday before power has been restored to all customers. The company has brought in crews from several states to assist in the process.


    Meanwhile, people are sweltering and folks who get their water from wells have been left dry because they have no power to run their pumps. Churches, private organizations and local government have stepped up to help remedy the situation.
    In Bedford County 17,037 customers remained without power on Monday afternoon, following a high of 19,389 on Sunday.
    Cooling stations were opened at several locations in the county:
    • Bedford Moose Lodge – 1897 E. Lynchburg Salem Tpk, Bedford, from 3 p.m. through overnight
    • Bedford County Parks and Recreation  –  1257  County Farm Rd, Bedford, “The Old Nursing Home” 4 p.m and overnight
    • Bethlehem United Metho-dist Church – 13586 Old Moneta Rd, Moneta.
    Opens Monday July 2, thru 4th 8 a.m. - 8 p.m, cooling and shower service only.
    • Bethesda United Methodist Church – 14340 Wyatts Way, Huddleston, 8 a.m. – 8 p.m.
    • Timber Ridge Baptist Church-3234 Timber Ridge Road, Bedford.
Open Monday July 2-July 4, 8am-8pm
    • Montvale Baptist Church - 1620 McDearmon Road, Montvale. Open July 2-July 4, 8 a.m.- 8 p.m.
    The county fire and rescue department set up outside Bedford Elementary school on Monday with water and ice.
    In the city, Blue Ridge Christian Life Ministries has been providing a cooling station open 24-hours-a-day since Saturday. The Holy Name of Mary Catholic Church also set up a cooling station.
    “We just noticed that the church had power,” said Mike Dodson, the pastor of Christian Life, explaining  the  decision.
    The church has been open for people to sleep there, providing mattresses, along with bags with towels and personal hygiene items and the opportunity to shower in the church’s parsonage, located next door. They are also set up to feed people three meals a day.
    Dodson said that they are working with the city police department.
    “They have been bringing ice in to keep things cool,” he said.
    Volunteers have been manning the cooling station around the clock. In addition to church members, community volunteers and people from other churches have come to lend a hand.
    According to Dodson, the church has a missions orientation and supports several overseas missionaries. This was an opportunity to reach out to people right where they live.
    “We just wanted to serve the community,” he said.
    Dodson said that they plan to keep the cooling station open until everybody in the Bedford area has their power restored. The only problem he has noted is getting the word out.