Neighbors ‘overwhelmed’ after strangers volunteer to fix washed out road

Posted at 8:01 PM, Sep 19, 2018
and last updated 2018-09-19 20:10:24-04

AMELIA COUNTY, Va. -- There's a sigh of relief among some Amelia County neighbors after strangers step in to help resolve a huge problem.

Bill Ford and Mollie McNamee are neighbors who live on Patten Road. The street is now missing a big chunk of pavement after recent flooding and severe weather battered the area.

Because it's a private road, their street doesn't fall under the responsibility of VDOT or the county. Homeowners were looking at a $10,000 bill to cover damage that Mother Nature stirred up this week.

The ten-foot sink hole separated the street literally minutes after Mollie drove over it.

"Obviously I’m thanking Jesus because if it had done that with me on it, I would have drowned or flipped over," McNamee said. "I don't even want to think about it. It scared me."

Mollie McNamee

Mollie McNamee

Now neighbors can't get out and emergency crews can't get in, if they need to. The story stirred up emotions of strangers who organized a volunteer effort.

A business owner in Lynchburg, Winston Marsden contacted contractors like Stephen Hatcher, who owns Windy Knoll Land Maintenance.

From donated pipes, to 20 tons of gravel, dirt and labor, the help pouring in has neighbors floored, and feeling blessed.

"We are going to have three excavators. We will dig out the bad part, re-excavate and put things back the way it should be," Hatcher explained.

He also said he felt something pull on his heart when he read about the neighbors' plight on social media. Hatcher, who is from Charlotte County, spent time at the site Wednesday planning for the next day's work.

Sink hole on Patten Road

Sink hole on Patten Road

He said his company that he started in 2004 has been doing well, and he feels compelled to give back.

"It's just overwhelming," Ford said. "You never know how much good is out there until something like this happens."

McNamee said there aren't enough words to express how grateful they are for the generosity of strangers. She and her husband plan to show up Thursday morning when volunteer crew members get to work.

One day McNamee says she will find a way to pay it forward.

A sanctioned GoFundMe page from Ford and McNamee is forthcoming. Organizers want to make sure folks who want to make a donation do so to a legitimate fund, so make sure to look for their names. Once the site is ready, we will include the link in this story.

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