On Sunday July 27 a tornado came through the Johnstown community and hit the oldest building there. The Johnstown United Methodist Church was built in 1884, and now its members are trying to save their beloved church, which is the only one in the community.
"The fire department got the phone call to come open the road and when they came up here they realized how bad it was. We really couldn't tell what damage had happened to the church itself until we started cleaning up some of the trees to see what had happened,” explained Kevin Williams, a Johnstown United Methodist Church member.
The National Weather Service determined after an investigation that an F1 tornado did touch down in the area.
After some clean-up was done outside the church, members then found what damage had been caused inside the church.
"The walls have moved a little bit. The roof was actually picked up and the back wall moved out and the roof came back down on top of it. The wall has a pretty good bow in it,” Williams explained.
On that wall is a painting that was done 130 years ago. Members Williams and Bill Suan said they hope it can be saved.
They have also called in engineering firms to investigate the damage, and said they believed it could be fixed.
Suan said the church was insured, but the damage will exceed that amount.
"There's a lot of other things that will have to be fixed that aren't covered. We had damage to the cemetery and the tombstones, this carpet is ruined,” Suan said.
So far the community and businesses have pitched in to clean up and repair as much as possible, but funds will be needed to continue restoration.
"Every one has chipped in and we have had people that have donated money already. Some are ready to do fundraisers and dinners. You can send donations to the Johnstown Restoration Fund Harrison County Bank, PO Box 98, Lost Creek, WV 26385,” Suan said.
Right now members are attending a church nearby, but want to get back to their hometown church.