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The Parthenon

Marshall University's Student Newspaper

The Parthenon

Marshall University's Student Newspaper

The Parthenon

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Small Towns Do It Best

Kaitlyn+Fleming
Abigail Cutlip
Kaitlyn Fleming

On the morning of Tuesday, April 2, a severe storm wreaked havoc on the small community of Proctorville, Ohio. The Proctorville Volunteer Fire Department crumbled, and Fairland West Elementary School lost its roof.

The aftermath of the storm has been the worst state I have seen Proctorville in in my short 20 years of living there. However, it is not the first time I have seen a community come together in trying times.

When the town of Proctorville faces adverse circumstances, people jump into action.

Within 24 hours, a GoFundMe was created to aid in the restoration of my former elementary school. As I am writing this, over 100 individuals have donated, and a total of $13,035 has been raised.

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In addition, the Fairland High School beta club gathered volunteers – on their spring break – to assist in the cleanup of the school.

The high school swiftly made arrangements to house a portion of the elementary students, and they even made a video offering a virtual tour to incoming students to make this transition as smooth as possible.

A majority of Proctorville lost power in the storm, myself included. I was happy to see Facebook posts and receive texts from friends who still had power. I was generously offered all of their amenities within hours of the loss of power.

Several businesses and individuals offered cleanup services, free of charge.

In this situation, what stands out as particularly unique to small towns is the lack of hesitation. Community members saw their neighbors in need and sprang into action.

What I have noticed in Proctorville is, when unfortunate events inevitably occur, a sense of solidarity is instilled. We look out for each other – even if it means offering our showers or coming together for cleanup efforts.

This interconnectedness serves as a source of strength to get through the bad times together.

Now, don’t get me wrong, growing up in a small town has had its challenges. For example, for once, I would love to run to the gas station in my ratty T-shirt and fill up my tank without worrying who I run into. But, in my opinion, the positives far outweigh my ability to go incognito.

In the photos of the damaged elementary school, one thing in particular stuck out to me: remaining was a sign displaying the message, “Don’t stop until you’re proud.”

I find it difficult to think of a more fitting phrase for what we should all be instilling into each other. That very sentiment is what Proctorville cultivates among its community and children.

One caveat of a small town is that it is so personal. On the other hand, one remarkable element of a small town is that it is so personal.

Without a doubt, small towns will not stop until they are proud.

Small towns do it best.

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