Down in one of Tucker County’s unincorporated communities neighbors are taking care of neighbors, but in a more official fashion. After 13 years since its conception, the Leadmine Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) is consistently providing for the community.
Father and son, Paul and Chris Cassidy are members of the response team. For Paul, CERT’s main objective is, “If anybody needs anything in the community we’re here for them.”
Leadmine CERT began in 2005 when community members wanted to organize their collective abilities to take care of their community. “But it pretty well started with the continuation of the way we had done things over time here,” Paul said. Since 2005, the team has grown to include 24 members.
“We’ve always been a community that takes care of its own up here. It’s always been that way, it was that way with my father,” Paul said.
When the team formed, Rene Crowl conducted the initial trainings. “She was pretty instrumental in getting it all started,” Paul said.
“We used to have to rely on some farmer somewhere to help out,” Paul said. “We’d pool all of our resources to make it work.” Now, instead of relying on community members to come through with their own personal gear, the community has a CERT trailer of gear that is loaded and ready for whomever and whenever a need arises.
“We’re better organized now,” Chris said. “We have the trailer now. In it we have a cache of generators, first aid supplies, and other basic equipment.” Battery operated lights, floodlights, oxygen machines, pop up shelters, and food and water are also stored in the CERT trailer.
The gear and organized response came in to play most recently with the flooding of July 2017. During and after the July 29 flood CERT members helped with their personal tractors and shovels to fill in culverts and driveways where torrential water washed areas out.
“The fire departments who were down here, we were available to help them as well,” Chris said. One of CERT’s main purposes is supporting fire and EMS personnel. This includes stabilizing hurt individuals until EMS personnel arrive.
The devastation after Hurricane Sandy provided ample opportunity for Leadmine CERT to put their skills to the test. Leadmine, as well as many other areas of the state, was without power for an extended period. CERT members distributed MREs and water to families.
Leadmine CERT’s hard work extends beyond their immediate community. The team provided assistance outside of Leadmine at Camp Kidd and in Davis when a pipeline froze. They helped American Red Cross set up emergency shelters in Tucker County and provided meals to the emergency responders and workers.
The Leadmine Park and community building is the team’s staging area. They are also the stewards of the park. “This property was very, very rough,” Paul said. “As a club project, we kind of took this on,” Chris said. CERT built handicap accessible bathrooms for the park.
“Our mission is to take care of community,” Paul said. “We are here to help our community and county, as needed and to the best of our ability until emergency professionals arrive.”