Mt. HERMON, Va. — As back-to-back ice storms riveted the Pittsylvania County community this week, an emergency shelter program offered warmth, electricity, food, and most importantly—a friend.
"Sometimes you don't realize what's happening out there... how long other people are without," Ronnie Montgomery, a volunteer stationed at the Mt. Hermon Fire & Rescue Station on Route 41, told the Star-Tribune last night.
Ronnie and his wife, Teresa, acted through the Mt. Hermon Baptist Church to offer a helping hand to those suffering from power outages, food shortage and water cutoffs.
Mt. Hermon Baptist Church sent out an email to its members for a volunteer opportunity, which intrigued the couple. They saw one of the two-hour shifts was open Thursday night and jumped on it.
"The [Mt. Hermon Fire & Rescue] fire chief here goes to Mt. Hermon Baptist Church, and the pastor was talking to him," Ronnie said.
"He said, 'Let me know if you need some help.' Then they decided to open the station up, just in case, and he said, 'You made two mistakes—you gave me your number and offered to help,'" he laughed. "So he called the church and said, 'Can you get us some volunteers?'"
It was a slow night for Mr. and Mrs. Montgomery, but they were eager to help when reporters entered the building.
"It has been quiet," Teresa said. "Mostly Kentuck and some of those areas are in the worst shape. There are little niches in our county that are without power for days."
Mt. Hermon joined nine other fire stations all over the county Thursday from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. to take part in the emergency shelter program. Other participating stations were in Chatham, Gretna, Callands, Cascade, Penhook, Dry Fork, Java, Ringgold and Keeling.
As of this morning, there are still hundreds without power, some of which have had no power for a full week.