HURRICANE, W.Va. — A Putnam County business found a reason to be thankful after the crazy week of water contamination.
When word spread of the water emergency impacting part of nine counties serviced by West Virginia American Water, owners of the Budget-American Inn in Hurricane decided to offer free showers to area residents. Manager Brandi Ledbetter said 1,100 showers were taken during the week.
“It was very hectic and chaotic, but we were able to help a lot of people,” Ledbetter said. “It was a very humbling experience.”
The motel receives its water from the Hurricane system, which was not impacted by the water emergency.
Ledbetter said individual residents, couples and entire families showed up just to take a shower. With the motel devoting four rooms to the needy, the wait, in some cases, extended a few hours.
“Just to take a shower,” Ledbetter said.
There were also several examples of giving within those in line. Ledbetter said a man had been waiting nearly three hours when an elderly couple came in.
“He gave up his turn to this elderly couple and turned around and paid for himself a room to take a shower,” she said. “The elderly woman broke down at our front desk counter and just cried and cried. Afterward she came back and wanted his name because she said she wanted to do something for him.”
Ledbetter said the unique, weeklong experience wouldn’t have been possible without the couple that owns the motel. She said they were also without water at their home.
“They were affected themselves and just wanted to do the American thing and just help the community,” she said.
The Tri-County YMCA in Putnam County provided about 2,000 free showers during the emergency water week.