Berkeley Springs, W.Va.—West Virginia B.A.S.S. Nation High School angler Katie Hoffman has been instrumental in coordinating a project to help flood victims in the southern part of her state.
When the 15-year-old Berkeley Springs High School sophomore heard about the devastation caused by the flooding of the Elk River on June 23, she called her dad, Jay Hoffman, at his work and told him she wanted to do something to help the flood victims. Her dad said he would cover the logistics part and she could do the rest.
So first she set up a donation drop-off site at her high school gym, and then she used Facebook to ask for help from the community and local businesses. Her community responded by donating non-perishable food items, cleaning supplies and hygiene products that filled two tractor trailers.
When they delivered the goods to the flooded area of Clay County, Hoffman was saddened by the devastation she witnessed. “We saw major rock slides,” she said. “We also saw a lot of bridges collapsed, houses demolished. And we weren’t even allowed to go to the bad part. It was really heartbreaking.”
Hoffman’s collection efforts have been so successful that she might need to change her relief efforts. “A bunch of people from the Berkeley Springs area tell me that they want to keep helping but at this point [the flood victims] have gotten more than enough supplies and what they need now is manpower,” Hoffman said.
Her flood relief project is the second time Hoffman has helped people in times of trouble. Hoffman recalls when she was about 7 years old, she and her dad volunteered to help people affected by Hurricane Katrina. “I really like helping people,” she said.
Ken Hackworth, a West Virginia B.A.S.S. Nation (WVBN) board member, lauded Hoffman for her determination and caring for disaster victims. “We're very proud of Katie [for] taking the initiative to successfully aid her fellow West Virginians,” he said. “Through her efforts, countless residents affected by these tragic floods received much-needed relief.”
Hoffman is also making her mark in high school tournaments. During the WVBN High School State Championship in April, Hoffman and her partner, Grace Caldwell, finished in third place and barely missed qualifying for the Costa Bassmaster High School National Championship.