IVYDALE, W.Va. — The number 50 looked great to Jenny Gannaway Thursday afternoon along a small stream in Clay County.

The executive director of West Virginia Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster (WV VOAD) was in Ivydale with a couple dozen others to dedicate the 50th bridge that’s been constructed as part of VOAD’s program that actually started before the 2016 flood.

“It’s unbelievable to think–it seems like just yesterday we were dedicating the first one–that was in December 2015 and now here we are in 2018, we’re up to number 50,” Gannaway said.

The new bridge helps an older couple that has been going across the creek in front of their home on an extension ladder since the June 2016 flood. The bridge was built by a team of volunteers from Mennonite Disaster Service. The couple began using it last month.

The approximately $15,000 for the construction came from a number of organizations including the West Virginia Conference of the United Methodist Church, the Ohio Conference of the United Church of Christ, the Episcopal Diocese of West Virginia and Presbytery Disaster Assistance.

Gannaway said the project is far from over. They have another 140 bridges to build from mostly the 2016 flood and another dozen or so from last summer’s flooding in the Northern Panhandle.

She said the work will continue and so will dedication ceremonies like the one held Thursday.

“Whether you’re dedicating a new home for a family to move into or a new bridge to give them access to get into their home–it’s a great feeling,” Gannaway said.

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