I’m sure one day I’ll be asked to answer the question, “What do you love about West Virginia?” by someone from the outside. I won’t answer the music even though I love the music, and I won’t answer the beauty even though nothing beats it. I’ll simply say, “the heart.”
The V Club benefit show would not have occurred without heart. Without love and compassion for place, or fellow human beings. It was a night of helping, it was a night to be near friends and family. To appreciate them still being with us, to appreciate still having a bed in a roof over your head to go home to. A night that has already become a legend in the community.
When West Virginians are in dire need, no one will help them to the extent fellow West Virginians will. That was proven by every angle of the night Whether it be the 600-plus who attended the show that had only been announced the morning before, or the bands who came together from across the state to use their talent for good, or the artisans who donated pieces for silent auction, or the work of Ian Thornton who booked the benefit in-between performing his band duties as a member of William Matheny and the Strange Constellations on Sunday night, everyone did their part.
Featuring shortened sets by The Horse Traders, Qiet, Ona, William Matheny, Jeff Ellis & 40 Days, Of the Dell, Tyler Childers, Short & Company and Charlie Brown Superstar, the benefit brought out their best to keep spirits high despite the devastation in towns like Rainelle that were practically wiped from existence.
By the end of the night over $12,000 was raised, and soon the afflicted areas will be met with the materialization of Huntington’s heart in the form of pickup loads full of supplies. In the big picture, it may be a drop in the bucket, but any ounce of relief is good relief.
As a sticker made by Jimbo Valentine says, “As the water goes down, we’ll pull each other up.” There’s still some heavy pulling to do, but we’ll get the suffering West Virginia brothers and sisters out of the depths soon.