Considering the recent water crisis in West Virginia, resulting when a chemical known as 4-methylcyclohexane methanol leaked into the Elk River and contaminated the water supply of many counties, we of Tyler County are in a fortunate position to lend a helping hand. Not in the midst of the situation or directly affected by it, we now have the opportunity to help, as well as an obligation.
Aurora Lights, a 501(c)3 non-profit, has been collecting donations and working with various groups to get clean drinking water to counties that were-or still are-lacking clean and safe drinking water. It is clear by their letter of thanks also published in this edition of the Tyler Star News (page 7) that Tyler County, along with the counties of Ritchie, Wetzel, and Monongalia, have already taken upon the cause. Co-founder Jen-Osha Buysse and President Hannah Spencer (of Tyler County) are continuing to reach out in order to encourage support.
The group recently contacted us in hopes of encouraging further support, and we hope this editorial succeeds in doing just that. "We're all working together in an incredible way," said Jen-Osha, noting the solidarity of people and various organizations contributing to the clean-water cause. "People can stand up in their own community, organize, and network with us."
She said that, due to the current and ongoing need for clean drinking water in these areas, they have recently extended their network to include more leaders and organizers. The group's work is volunteer-based, and they are working with multiple organizations, taking donations to wherever they are most needed. Jen-Osha explained that they are about networking for the common good, not about titles.
While some areas have reports stating that the water is currently safe, she said people are still getting sick. She urges people in all impacted areas to be cautious when it comes to using the water.
Visit auroralights.org to learn more about Aurora Lights and its causes. Donations can be made on that site, but Jen-Osha said people can be most helpful to the current situation by organizing their community, promoting donation drives, and then serving as a contact person for their community with Aurora Lights. You can also visit www.facebook.com/AuroraLightsWV.
It's important that we continue to offer help during this time. Considering Tyler County's proximity to the Ohio River and connecting waterways, it's possible that we may end up needing the favor returned.