WHITE SULPHUR SPRINGS, W.Va. (AP) — Country music star Brad Paisley is helping a home rebuilding project in flood-ravaged West Virginia get off to a solid start.
A groundbreaking ceremony was held Saturday for a community of 42 homes on land donated by the city of White Sulphur Springs. They will be for residents whose homes were destroyed in flooding in late June.
Media outlets report that among those at the ceremony was Deborah Nicely, who lost three family members in the flood. One of the streets will named Nicely Way.
"It's amazing what these people are doing for the city and for the people who really need it," Nicely said. "It's God's will. That's all I can say. It's God's will."
Homes for West Virginia is a newly created partnership with local stakeholders and New Orleans-based SBP, a disaster recovery nonprofit group founded after Hurricane Katrina.
Homes for West Virginia announced Saturday that Paisley has made an initial donation of $250,000. Pharmaceutical company Mylan has donated $1 million and Morgantown health care company MedExpress has donated $500,000.
State officials have estimated about 1,500 homes were destroyed in the floods statewide. The White Sulphur Springs project will serve as a model for similar projects in other flood-ravaged communities. The partnership's total fundraising goal is $20 million.
Paisley, a native of Glen Dale whose crowdfunding website campaign for flood relief has nearly $700,000 in donations toward a goal of $1 million, said in a statement issued by project organizers that he encourages others to "step up and donate for the many West Virginians still in need."
Mylan was founded in White Sulphur Springs in 1961.
"To see the devastation of our birthplace and surrounding areas is heart-wrenching," said Mylan CEO Heather Bresch. "We are committed to the long term recovery of the region, not just through our financial support, but by bringing business leaders together to leverage expertise and rejuvenate these communities."
Lititz, Pennsylvania-based volunteer network Mennonite Disaster Service will help build the White Sulphur Springs village on land above Howard's Creek.