Neighborliness makes Athens County special

Athens County residents are always ready to help folks in need, whether close to home or far away.

When people ask why we love Athens County, folks often mention our area’s natural beauty or its hippies-in-Appalachia culture. Those are certainly factors, but for me, it’s our generous community. We always step up when tragedy strikes, whether close to home or far away. 

I experienced this firsthand 25 years ago, when a weather front stalled over our region, dumping 10 inches of rain in less than three days. Our house in Amesville was flooded five feet deep while my husband, our 8-month-old son, and I were on vacation in Washington, DC. I remember standing in the Air & Space Museum, white-knuckled grip on my candy-bar cell phone as Doug’s mom broke the news.

Max’s baby pictures. My father’s paintings. The platform rocker that belonged to my grandmother. The computer and peripherals I needed for my freelance business. Doug’s new Ford F-150. All … had been saved by our neighbors.


Our house at 31 State St. in Amesville at peak flood stage on June 28, 1998.

Small towns being what they are, everyone knew we were away. Someone towed Doug’s truck to higher ground. A group broke into our home and formed a human chain to pass our most precious belongings hand-over-hand to the second floor. 

When the water receded, the fire department went door to door to spray away the clinging mud. The dishwashers at Amesville Elementary ran nonstop, cleaning and sanitizing dishes and kitchenware. My mother-in-law organized a cleanup crew that pulled out our ruined carpets and scrubbed the floors and walls. 

Thinking about it still makes me cry.

We see this community spirit all the time — in truckloads of goods collected and shipped to areas in need, in fundraising campaigns to help local families in crisis. Just this week, a GoFundMe has collected nearly $25,000 (at this writing) for the family of an Athens High School student who died tragically on Sunday. 

You sometimes hear folks say, “Keep Athens Weird.” A more apt slogan, though, might be “Keep Athens Kind.”

Support our work to deliver independent local news for Athens County

Like what you are reading?

We are interested about hearing news in our community! Let us know what's happening!

Get in touch and share a story!

This site uses cookies to provide you with a great user experience. By continuing to use this website, you consent to the use of cookies in accordance with our privacy policy.

Scroll to Top