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Hancock religious community, restaurant reaches out during crisis

August 22, 2008|By MARLO BARNHART

HANCOCK -- Throughout the standoff that ended Friday night at America's Best Value Inn, St. Thomas' Episcopal Church, the Interfaith Service Coalition and a number of area restaurants reached out to those caught up in the event.

The Rev. Allan Weatherholt and Debbie Cohill, director of the Interfaith Service Coalition, opened the church parish hall to the evacuated motel guests Thursday morning, and later helped them relocate to the Super 8 motel.

"We secured eight rooms for those guests for Thursday night and may have to again for Friday night," Cohill said Friday afternoon.

The funds for the effort came from the Loaves and Fishes Thrift Store budget, Cohill said.

About 150 hot meals were served Thursday night to the motel guests, law enforcement officers and fire and rescue personnel as the crisis continued into its second night.

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Several Hancock restaurants got in touch Thursday and Friday with Cohill and Weatherholt to see how they could help. Triangle Restaurant, Park 'n Dine Restaurant, Sheetz and Pizza Hut all kicked in with food and other necessities, Cohill said.

"Everyone has been very supportive," Cohill said.

Volunteers from the Washington County Chapter of the American Red Cross chapter also were in town to help.

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