The last two months have been tough for the people of Parsons, W.Va., and things will most likely stay that way for a while. But the town's 3,000 residents are not ready to let the Grinch walk off with this year's holidays.
On the contrary, officials said townspeople in Parsons, which was devastated by flooding in early November, have been reveling in thousands of Christmas gifts sent from towns as far off as Parsons, Kan.
Closer to home, the town of Marshall in Fauquier County, Va., is joining in. A caravan of several pickup trucks led by either a sheriff's car or fire truck and a man in a Santa suit are scheduled to leave this morning to arrive in Parsons for an afternoon Christmas party held at the local Salvation Army headquarters, according to organizer Charles Ebbets.
"I thought it would be nice for a small town in Virginia to adopt a small town in West Virginia for Christmas," Ebbets said. "We knew that everyone was sending food and clothing, but we wanted to help in a way that would let people celebrate."
Mayor John Gribble said that recovery efforts in Parsons are still proceeding slowly.
Only a few businesses are open, Gribble said, and Monday marked the first day that the all schools in Tucker County, of which Parsons is county seat, were open. Until then, many schools had been used as shelters and emergency headquarters. Many families remain homeless, although a trailer park is to open soon.