Feel Good tour rolls on, bringing music and instruments to West Virginia community damaged by flooding

Published: Feb. 13, 2017 at 1:21 AM EST
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A storage unit in Roanoke holds musical instruments, amplifiers and other equipment, soon to be matched with someone who needs them.

"What does all of this gear represent?" we asked Bill Hudson. "I think for kids and the town of Richwood, I think, hope simply," Hudson told WDBJ7. "A lot of hope."

Hope was in short supply in late June, after the Cherry River flooded Richwood, West Virginia.

The torrent left gaping holes in the pavement, flooded schools and damaged so many homes that dozens had to be demolished.

Several months later, recovery is still a work in progress. And the gift of a public address system, donated by the group Hungry for Music and delivered by The Feel Good Tour was much appreciated.

Bob Henry Baber is the Mayor of Richwood.

"Insulation, heat, fix roads, all that stuff you've got to do, but at some point you really got to breathe," Baber said. "You got to have music. You got to have joy. You got to keep that going too. We don't live by bread and insulation alone."

The Feel Good Tour is no flash in the pan.

Bill Hudson and Al Coffey, and others, have been carrying music, and musical instruments, to disaster areas since Hurricane Katrina.

They've made more than a dozen trips to the Gulf Coast, and this was Coffey's third to Richwood, where band instruments were a particular need.

"Managed to round up three or four trombones," Coffey said. "I think we had a handful of clarinets, two or three flutes, and they said they could use a guitar for the choir, so I brought a good acoustic guitar for that."

More than 30 instruments so far, and they aren't done.

"We're cheerleaders," Hudson told us. "We give a physical thing, but we're giving so much more."

Hudson and Coffey are making plans to return to Richwood, and they welcome donations of musical instruments and financial support.

You can learn more about the organization by visiting their website, at http://www.unitedpeacerelief.org. You can find a link to the right of this story.