Disaster nets donation to youth

Published 11:57 am Thursday, March 24, 2016

The tornado that destroyed homes in Evergreen on Feb. 24 in Appomattox County has produced two new batting cages at Prince Edward County Middle School.

Dominion donated and installed — free of charge — nine damaged utility poles to the school that will hold netting and other apparatus so students have a place to improve their swings.

The poles were damaged to the point where they couldn’t be used for Dominion’s use, but were strong enough for use for the batting cages, according to Daisy Pridgen, a spokeswoman for the utility firm.

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“Our office in Farmville was contacted by Prince Edward Middle School because they (were) in need of batting cages for the students,” Pridgen said. “Our line crews in that office were willing to help out. On March 17, they (set) some power poles that will hold the netting for the cages. These poles were retrieved from Appomattox (they were broken in the tornado that hit that area weeks ago, but are still usable for this purpose).”

The seven Dominion employees brought the poles over from Appomattox, dug the holes, set the poles and installed netting.

“It is very meaningful for us to have these repurposed poles serving in such a positive capacity,” said Middle School Principal Tammy Hurt. “The twisted and broken poles

represented a tragedy in a local community, however, they will now be a positive reflection of our youth and the future as our students will spend multiple hours preparing and training for baseball and softball. We are truly grateful for this opportunity.”

About two years ago, Dominion did the same at the county’s high school, Pridgen said.

“(We’re) getting it squared the way its got to go,” said Mike Harvanek, a Dominion employee of 16 years, while supervising the installation of the poles. “We’re just getting the poles lined up straight, setting them, getting them right so we can do the hardware. …”

“Anything you can do to help the kids out is great … Dominion does, you know, really try hard to give to the community,” he said.

“This generous donation from Dominion is a wonderful example of the kind of community partnerships with Prince Edward County Public Schools that strengthen the entire Prince Edward community,” Division Superintendent Dr. David Smith said. “Our physical education students will benefit from an enhanced practice cage for baseball and softball, and our middle school and high school athletes have a welcome addition to the athletic complex.”