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Greenbrier Resort set to open Tuesday, opens call for guests to come

Photo: Shayne Dwyer/WDBJ7
Photo: Shayne Dwyer/WDBJ7(WDBJ)
Published: Jul. 6, 2016 at 4:55 PM EDT
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Following days of destruction and death, West Virginians are getting good news.

Thursday, Greenbrier Owner Jim Justice announced the resort will reopen Tuesday, July 12. The goal is to salvage what's left of the summer season and get people back to work.

The resort itself employs about as many people as there are in the town of White Sulphur Springs, where it's located. Justice said getting the resort back up and running is paramount. After a news canceled news conference earlier in the week and two days of build up, this event on the front lawn of the resort is what many people had been waiting for.

"We've been to you know where and back," is how Justice opened his first public wide scale remarks since the disastrous floods. "A lot of families have lost loved ones, their homes, their sacred possessions and we'll never get over that."

The Greenbrier Resort stands as the anchor of the small town of White Sulphur Springs. Its shutdown was an immediate blow, and employees who escaped the flood couldn't escape a loss of income.

"You can imagine the number of employees that keep coming up to me over and over, saying when are we going to get back to work," Justice said. "And you know we're racing as fast as we possibly can to figure any and every way to get them back."

Many on the Greenbrier Staff are employees for life, and getting the resort open again is a saving grace.

"This is the worst thing I have ever seen happen to our town and to the Greenbrier," 31-year Greenbrier Employee Pam Callison said. "For the shutdown, for us not to have a job, not to have income coming in and for him to announce he's opening the place back up is just amazing, for him to be able to open back up this quickly."

The resort is now putting the call out to those who have asked 'how can I help?'" Justice wants you to come and check in to the hotel, enjoy the pools and the spas, and stay for a while.

"We do have damage, our grounds are nowhere close to pristine, but I'll promise you this you being here you will still have a Greenbrier experience beyond belief," Justice said. "It's hugely important and that's why we want everyone on the outside if they can come and support these employees in any way they can we want them to come, I'll promise you these employees will give them the greatest service and the greatest experience they can possibly have."

The resort said it has offered food and a place to stay to more than 700 flooding victims. Those victims have been working with FEMA and the resort said in a news release it has been assured those victims will continue to have food and housing.

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Jim Justice has announced that The Greenbrier will re-open Tuesday.

Justice said the grounds are nowhere near pristine. He encouraged people to stay at the resort, saying he promises patrons will have a "Greenbrier experience."

The 710-room hotel is a major employer for people on both sides of the state line. He said he wants to get hotel employees back to work.

"For the guests who are out there in lala land, come.If you want to really help, come," Justice said. "Reach out a helping hand to those that need a job, that need the opportunity to be back here and be back here working."

The June 23 floods left 15 people dead in Greenbrier County and 23 across the state. The hotel closed to guests on June 24, but took in more than 700 affected residents.

The PGA Tour canceled the Greenbrier Classic golf tournament, which was scheduled to start Thursday at the resort.

We'll hear more from Justice and see what last month's flooding did to the property tonight on WDBJ7.

Here is the news release from The Greenbrier:

The Greenbrier is proud to announce that it will be reopening to its guests on Tuesday, July 12, after being forced to close for more than two weeks because of the unprecedented flood waters that significantly damaged parts of the historic resort.

“We had some major damage in different parts of the hotel, and it’s taken a lot of work to get The Greenbrier back to the standard that our guests expect,” said Jim Justice, Owner and CEO, The Greenbrier. “But my dad once told me that if you can’t get it done in 24 hours a day, then you’re gonna have to work nights. We’ve worked a lot of nights, because we know just how important it is to have The Greenbrier up and running and guests coming here to visit.”

With nearly 2,000 Team Members working during the summer, The Greenbrier’s peak season, America’s Resort is one of the largest employers in southern West Virginia and a major driver for the area’s economy.

“For this region and this state to get back on its feet, the people need to be working,” said Justice. “A number of Team Members at The Greenbrier lost everything, and they can’t rebuild if they don’t have a place to work. That’s why we’ve worked so hard to get The Greenbrier’s doors back open as quickly as possible.”

“I want to thank Jim Justice for getting me back to work,” said Frank Mosley, The Greenbrier’s legendary ambassador, who has greeted guests at the main entrance for more than 50 years. “Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!”

Since the flooding that swept through the region on June 23, The Greenbrier has housed and fed more than 700 flood victims, who didn’t have anywhere else to stay. The Greenbrier has been assured that proper food and housing will be provided to each and every one of these devastated individuals. The Greenbrier will continue to do all it can to help the community rebuild, and Justice is asking guests to do the same.

“The best way to help out is to come here, enjoy all the amazing people at America’s Resort and help stimulate the economy here in Greenbrier County,” said Justice. “Guests can enjoy a world class vacation and support the community and The Greenbrier’s Team Members at the same time. It’s a win-win for everybody.”

“We want to see this place hopping again like it normally is this time of the year,” added Greg Scott, who has been a doorman at The Greenbrier for more than 20 years. “It’s a great way to show the world that West Virginia will recover and is still a wonderful place to come visit.”

For more information or to book your stay at The Greenbrier, visit Greenbrier.com. For information on other ways to help flood victims across West Virginia by donating to the Neighbors Loving Neighbors campaign, visit Greenbrier.com/neighbors.

ORIGINAL STORY

A news conference at the Greenbrier Resort has been rescheduled for Thursday morning.

The news conference about the condition of the resort is scheduled to happen at 10:30 a.m. Thursday. WDBJ7 plans to live stream the news conference. Click in the video player above to watch live.

Greenbrier owner and CEO Jim Justice will talk about the impact of flooding on the region and the resort. He is also expected to make a major announcement.

The news conference was originally scheduled to be held Tuesday, but the resort had to cancel the news conference due to “extenuating circumstances.”