Area donors give over $4,000 to provide water for Stoney Creek residents

By Kathy Helms-Hughes
STAR STAFF
khughes@starhq.com

   A promised downpour of approximately two inches of rain didn't materialize this weekend, and, even if it had, it probably would not have been sufficient to replenish springs in the Dry Hollow and Bob's Hollow sections of Stoney Creek or the Fish Springs/Elk Mills community.
   Nevertheless, there is some good news on the horizon for those whose wells and springs have run dry. The Carter County Ministerial Association, local churches, and private donors, have contributed funds to purchase 4,620 gallons of water to assist Carter County residents.
   "The water will be here in the morning around 8 a.m., and we're going to unload it at the warehouse over at the old Elizabethton Herb & Metal building," Carter County Emergency Management Agency Director Jim Burrough said Monday.
   "Steve Witt (CCMA) and Gene Sams from Calvary Baptist and others have given contributions to make this possible," Burrough said. "The Emergency Management Office has never had money in our account for things like that. But we're trying to establish an emergency line item to take care of stuff like that, that you can't use county money for."
   Burrough said Hampton Utility District originally had thought of installing a hydrant at Watauga Point which would have saved water haulers from Fish Springs/Elk Mills six to seven miles of driving to fill their tanks, barrels and water jugs.
   "But then they decided they wouldn't do it because if somebody vandalized it, it would drain their reservoir and then the whole thing would be out," Burrough said.
   The utility district decided, however, to make water available at the district office in Hampton from 8 a.m. till noon and from 1 p.m. until 5 p.m Tuesday, Burrough said. "Anybody that wants it can come to Hampton, and they're welcome to all they want if they want to haul their own drinking water."
   Burrough asks that persons who are out of water contact his office at 542-1888 and leave their name, address, and telephone number, along with how many members are in their household.
   Little Milligan Elementary School Principal J.R. Campbell surveyed students Monday and found that 25 families in the community were either out of water or having to haul water. Burrough said there are a few cases of water remaining at the school for persons in need.
   "But once we get this new in, we're going to try to keep some on hand," he said.
   Members of the work crew from the Carter County Sheriff's Department hauled a truckload of water to Stoney Creek recently when the spring that Dry Hollow residents use went dry. "Then other people needed it and we were out," Burrough said.
   Sheriff John Henson also received several phone calls from Fish Springs/Elk Mills residents regarding their need for water. He personally rounded up more than 300 cases and drove a work truck to Fish Springs/Elk Mills to deliver water to local stores and Little Milligan for distribution.
   Burrough said that, since then, EMA has worked hard for several days to bring water to the community.
   "We ended up buying it. The only way that the state will give it to you is if there is a disaster declared. And the only way you can get a declaration is if there's between $5 million and $6 million worth of damage done. That's not going to happen where you're out of water," Burrough said.
   The water being brought in today was made available after the Tennessee Emergency Management Agency went through the Department of Agriculture and got it, according to Burrough. It was paid for by the Ministerial Association and private donations.
   Elizabethton City Manager Charles Stahl and the city agreed to let the county EMA use its warehouse again for storage and has also offered to furnish a tow motor to unload it.
   Burrough said Preacher Gary Perkins of Hampton has a 300 gallon tank and is willing to haul water to any residents who need it.
   "His number is 725-2969. Maybe somebody could help him pay for the gas or something, but he's not charging," Burrough said.
   Anyone wishing to donate to the county water fund can send a tax-deductible check or money order to Carter County EMA Water Fund, 801 E. Elk Ave., Elizabethton, 37643.