Ohio Valley Unsung Heroes: Shadyside athletic teams aid village flood cleanup

SHADYSIDE — Shadyside was hit with a double whammy two weeks ago.

After a series of severe storms rolled through southeastern Belmont County the week of July 16, a gullywasher that nailed the village during the afternoon of July 23 proved too much.

Basements and streets flooded as creeks overflowed their banks like they hadn’t done since the remnants of Hurricane Ivan swept through the region in September 2004.

Then, just as residents seemed to be finished cleaning up, another heavy batch of rain blew through five days later, prompting an almost repeat of what happened before. In many cases, the situation was worse.

The on and off ramps to Ohio 7 at the north end of town were flooded and caked with mud, while some roads in town buckled under the torrent of rushing water.

It seemed like everyone in the village was hit — north and south, east and west; no one was spared, really. And those that weren’t affected likely knew folks who were.

As village officials crafted a cleanup plan, it was decided to conduct a community-wide initiative that took place this past Thursday. And aiding the effort were athletes from Shadyside High School’s cross country and volleyball teams.

”Our athletic director (John Triveri) texted all the fall coaches and asked if anyone was interested in volunteering their time,” cross country coach Jenna Coyne said. ”The coaches decided it would be nice to give back.”

So, bright and early Thursday, about 15 of Coyne’s runners, along with about 20 members of Coach Don Chamberlain’s volleyball program, met at the Shadyside Community Center to see how they could help. What resulted was about a two-hour tour of the village, picking up a plethora of items that not only helped clean the village, but provided mental relief to a bevy of residents who’d been struck by Mother Nature’s wrath.

”It was awesome to watch them clean up and seeing them enjoy it along the way,” Coyne said. ”It wasn’t a mandatory thing and they all showed up.”

Chamberlain said he would’ve had more team members participate, but some were at band camp.

”I’ve always wanted members of my teams to do some type of community service,” he said, citing numerous examples. ”It’s very important to the structure of a team.

”And, they had a good time, too.”

The weather was hot and it was humid, but Coyne said there were no complaints from the Orange and Black harriers and spikers as they made their way through town collecting damaged items and mending damaged spirits.

”It wasn’t a fun job at all,” Coyne said. ”But there were no complaints. They had water running down their arms. There were muddy things and heavy things. They just picked everything up and went on their way.”

All told, Coyne said both teams used about four trucks and hauled 24 loads of materials.

”That’s a lot of stuff to take off someone’s hands,” she said. ”There were couches, there was old, wet carpet. So, it wasn’t just light, dusty stuff.”

Coyne was appreciative to Shadyside Cartage and Ohio-West Virginia Excavating Company and the others who aided in the cleanup, in addition to the athletes. A Shadyside alum, Coyne recalled participating in a similar endeavor while a student at Wheeling Jesuit University.

”I kept telling them it will help make you a more well-rounded person,” she said. ”It’s something you will definitely not forget.

”They knew the community needed it.”

If you know of someone in sports in the Ohio Valley whom I could feature as an Ohio Valley Unsung Hero, drop me a line at rthorp@timesleaderonline.com or via Twitter @RickThorp1