MADISON — The City of Huntington has offered a helping hand to the City of Madison in the form of a garbage collection truck.
“It was a very kind gesture on their part and we really appreciate it right now,” said City Manager and Police Chief Chet Burgess. “We’d be in a real tough spot without that truck.”
Last week, the city’s 2015 International garbage collection truck, which the city only owed eight more payments on, was rear-ended on US 119, and there is a good chance that the frame of the truck was twisted in the accident. The city is waiting on the results that an insurance adjuster will provide upon further inspection.
A new replacement for the vehicle would cost the city approximately $165,000, but the real conundrum of the situation lies in how they were going to pick up garbage — a process that sees the truck in use five days per week throughout different grids of the city limits.
“Some businesses require that we pick up every day,” Burgess added. “We had a real dilemma on our hands.”
Enter the City of Huntington. Madison mayor Sonny Howell reached out to Mayor Steve Williams to simply see whether there was a way that an agreement could be reached for a temporary lease of their back-up truck.
When a Madison maintenance worker accompanied Howell to pick up the truck from Huntington Public Works Director Jim Insco, it was full of gas and ready for transport with no agreement needed. It would be a loaner for as long as Madison needed it.
Huntington Mayor Williams said lending a helping hand was something his office gave no thought to. It was simply the right thing to do.
“This is what being a West Virginian is all about,” he said. “Sonny Howell is a fine man and I’ve developed a wonderful friendship with him since I’ve been mayor and he’s always been so helpful and encouraging to me. I’m of the mindset that when a friend needs help, you do everything you can to help them.”
Williams said Huntington has helped the City of Barboursville in the same capacity in the past and that he knows that if Huntington were in need, others would do the same.
“I know that if I call Mayor Howell and I needed some help that the City of Madison would bend over backwards to help us,” Williams added. “He’s been very supportive of me and I’d do anything to help that man.”
Just a year ago, Madison donated their old truck to the Town of Whitesville, which was in desperate need with limited funds.
Following the theme of giving, the City of Huntington purchased new Christmas decorations two years ago and the town of Richwood were able to take the old decorations and put them to use on their streets, giving them new life in Nicholas County.
“Through the (West Virginia) Municipal League, we’ve learned that there is a brotherhood among us all,” Williams said. “If there is a need, someone will step up and help directly.”
Reporter Phil Perry can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 304-307-2401.