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Air show collected $100K for Eastern Panhandle United Way

Officials estimate more than 80,000 people attended event

September 09, 2010|By MATTHEW UMSTEAD
  • Specatators look to the sky Sunday at the Thunder Over The Blue Ridge Air Show at the West Virginia Air National Guard base in Martinsburg, W.Va.
By Kevin G. Gilbert/Staff Photographer,

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. -- Mild weather conditions were "a big savior" for emergency officials at the recent Thunder Over the Blue Ridge Open House and Air Show, members of the Berkeley County Commission were told Thursday.

Berkeley County Emergency Ambulance Authority chief Don Scheuch said 25 people were treated for various medical problems, but most were not serious. One woman broke her ankle, but she insisted on watching the rest of the air show, Scheuch said.

Meanwhile, the United Way of the Eastern Panhandle came away from the event as a big financial winner, officials said this week.

While there was no admission charge for the air show, Jan Callen of the United Way of the Eastern Panhandle said the agency collected about $100,000 in donations at the gate.

Mary Kackley, director of the county's 911 emergency dispatch center, said the event went "extremely well," given the turnout. Officials estimated more than 80,000 people attended the two-day air show, which was hosted by the 167th Airlift Wing of the Air National Guard.

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Organizers were reviewing how the event was handled, and Kackley said they found some things on which they could improve.

On the first day of the air show, Interstate 81 in the vicinity of Tabler Station Road was clogged with motorists, but that situation was resolved by adjusting some of the traffic-flow patterns, officials said.

Kackley said traffic was cleared from parking areas near Eastern West Virginia Regional Airport by 6:30 or 7 p.m., just a couple of hours after the show.

"I think that's outstanding," Kackley said.

Nic Diehl, who was part of the nonprofit organization that was formed to stage the event, said Thursday that he should know in a few weeks whether an air show would be held at the airport next year.

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