Justice: Damage 'unbelieveable'
"Unbelievable" was a word Democratic gubernatorial candidate Jim Justice couldn't stop uttering as he described flood damage sustained in Greenbrier County, his resort property and all throughout the Mountain State.
"The damage far exceeds anything I could have ever imagined," he said.
Justice, owner of The Greenbrier resort, said as the staff was taking a closer look Friday at buildings for damage, they found a dead body that had washed onto the property near the turf building. Justice said the victim was a young man, but had no other details to share.
He expressed his devastation about the loss of life -- as of 4:15 p.m., The Associated Press reported 18 flood-related deaths.
"We're just trying to take care of guests, employees and anyone in the community who needs help," Justice said.
Some guests are still at the hotel, but he said it will be closing as soon as possible, as the damage is "horrendous."
Justice said among the locations receiving damage were the casino, bowling alley, chapel and both the outdoor and indoor tennis facilities.
He added that a marker on the 15th fairway of the Old White Course denoting the high water mark of a 1915 flood was exceeded by at least 5 feet.
Roadways are now open to and from the resort. He said the safest route is through the Hart's Run exit. Although the intersection at W.Va. 92 is washed out, he said the roadway is passable. Many hotel guests left once the roadways were cleared.
Justice commended the "tireless" law enforcement officers and emergency responders who worked countless hours on rescue efforts.
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"We need to rally together and help one another," he added.
He extended his thoughts to the community, and called upon other West Virginians to join him in prayer.
"All West Virginians are proud and strong. Somehow, some way, we'll find our way through this."
As for The Greenbrier Classic, he said, "We'll worry about a little thing like a golf tournament later."
He said as of Friday evening, the tournament has not been officially canceled.
In a statement, the PGA Tour said, "Our thoughts and prayers are with the people of West Virginia during this state of emergency. While we assess the damage to The Greenbrier resort to determine the feasibility of holding The Greenbrier Classic the week after next, the obvious priority is with the safety of that community and its recovery efforts. We will share an update on the status of the event in the next few days."
This article was written by Wendy Holdren from The Register-Herald, Beckley, W.Va. and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.