‘Project Firewood’ provides winter warmth

Page News and Courier The Valley Banner
The whine of chain saws filled the air near Shenandoah last Saturday as
50 volunteers felled trees, cut logs into sections, and split the sections
into firewood for the forty families in Page and Rockingham counties that
had requested wood.
“It’s not a fix for anyone,” said Annie Schupner of Shenandoah Hardware.
“But a cord of firewood can last a month in warmer weather and give
somebody a chance to catch up on their bills.”
Annie and husband Ron Schupner coordinated last Saturday’s Project
Firewood for the fourth year in a row. The couple lent their Shenandoah
Hardware store as a morning meeting point and storage site for several
cords of wood not delivered on Saturday.
For most of the volunteers, aged 8 to over 60, it was a matter of helping
the community. But forJunior Monger of Shenandoah, who came early, it
was personal - a way of helping his mother, Mrs. Murray Alter of Stanley,
heat her house. The Schupners have taken Alter a load of wood in
previous winters. “This year I’m retired and I have the time,” Monger said.
About noon Monger delivered a ”short cord” of wood to his mother. “I was
expecting wood,” Alger said. “But Junior bringing it was a surprise.
“When it comes to work, he likes to do it,” she added.
Some others also had a personal motive. Dustin Stewart, 19, of
Shenandoah, now in the U.S. Army, came “because my grandmother
needs firewood, and she told me to be here.” Stewart brought his brother,
Dalton, 13, a student at the Elkton Middle School.
But for almost all other volunteers surveyed - including Chris Kite of
Shenandoah, his neighbor Mark Comer, and Shenandoah police officer
Chad Cubbage, who brought his one-ton pickup truck, the reason offered
was always the same - to serve the community.
“This will help a lot of the elderly, especially the way the economy is
said Fay Coppage of Shenandoah, who was helping to cut for the fourth
Public media, local schools, and the Shenandoah town office staff helped
advertise the event. Seventeen-year-olds Dakota Hensley and Dillon
Dovel of Shenandoah heard the event announced over the Page County
High School public address system. Anita Reyes of Harrisonburg,
attending with several students from Harrisonburg High School and
Skyline Middle School, heard about it on WHSV -TV, which had a
cameraman at Saturday’s cutting. Several volunteers responded to the
blitz email sent out by Juanita Roudabush, Assistant Town Manager for
“It’s going great, the best turnout we’ve had yet,” said Ron Schupner at 10
a.m., reveling in the fact that almost 50 people were working near him.
An hour later, ten more volunteers arrived, all members of the
Harrisonburg Youth Council, raising the total number of volunteers to 60.
The timbered lots, just outside Shenandoah’s southeastern town limits,
were made available by Larry and Mike Sullivan. At least a dozen
volunteers brought their own wood-splitters. William “Billy” Foltz brought
his front-bucket , tread-driven Bobcat. Breakfast pastries and work-gloves
were provided by the Schupners, and lunch was served at the cutting site
by the Mt. Olive Brethren Church of Pineville. The Schupners’ solicitations
of Shenandoah businesses provided gas cards for wood deliveries.
Early morning fog dispelled by midmorning and the temperature
approached a surprising 70 degrees by early afternoon. In contrast, the
temperature at the first cutting four years ago was just 17 degrees.
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