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Crisis drives home the importance of clean water

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- West Virginia has been through a lot to start this new year! First there were snowstorms and frigid temperatures, and then, there was no water. All this halted school and some of teens' other activities as well.

When our water was contaminated Jan. 9, most teens told me they found out through the power of social media and texting. The small details being released puzzled most teens, leaving them dumbfounded and confused. School was canceled, and that is when the seriousness of the problem set in.

Waking up the next morning, the worst was yet to come. You went to brush your teeth, but you couldn't turn on the faucet. You wanted to wake up, but you couldn't take a hot shower because it was a hazard.

However, some teens told me that didn't stop them! They continued using the water and bathing with it even though the "do-not-use" ban was still in effect. Multiple teens made statements along the lines of, "Taking only 3 to 5 minute showers to be safe."

Others, though, exercised caution and tied something over their faucets to remind them of the contaminant in the water. They used everything from socks to old shoelaces to conceal the hazard areas.

Even though water service was being put on hold, some teens still continued on as if it were a regular weekend, hanging with friends or chilling at home. Others decided to jump in aiding others, helping with getting clean, safe water to everyone.

Lots of helping hands young and old were at several locations throughout the nine affected counties to distribute water. Others helped bring water to people in need who couldn't get it themselves or passed out other necessities to families in need.

Teens gathered in the Rand area on Wednesday to help pass out cases and gallon jugs of water. Some of the DuPont Middle School basketball players even came out to help. These kids loved doing the job and giving their community a helping hand.

The water crisis put everything on hold this week. It was tough, and sometimes no one knew what to expect next. This week, most teens kept positive and enjoyed the extension of their winter break from school. Some gave support to other families in need. With this crisis, everyone has truly learned the real need for water in everyday life.


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