East Palestine prayer circle calms village two days before U.S. Senate committee hearing
People in East Palestine continue to face fears of the unknown future of their town.
As worries drag on, people living in the village came together in prayer, to lift the spirits of those around them Tuesday at East Palestine High School. Some of those gathered are now preparing to make their way to Washington D.C. Thursday for a senate hearing centered on the train derailment.
As the physical cleanup of hazardous materials continues in the village of East Palestine, the overwhelmed and anxious community taking time to come together, take a step back and say a prayer.
"We just want to be here shoulder to shoulder with them and support them," said Andrew Householder, Organizer of the Prayer Circle, "with being present at that moment when people are really stressed out."
People who spoke asked for clarity on the unpredictable situation, praying for the safety of first responders, guidance to the EPA, and accountability for Norfolk Southern.
"There's a lot of things that we want to control but at the end of the day, things are still going to happen," Householder told 21 News. "The only hope we have is turning to God. Even in the storms, he's with us. Our circumstances might not change but at least we can have peace and joy."
Some community members in attendance at Tuesday's vigil took a moment of peace before they head to Washington D.C. to attend Norfolk Southern's Senate hearing on the train derailment.
"This Senate hearing just really shows there is so much importance and so much awareness that needs to be done to hold Norfolk Southern accountable," said Misti Allison, a member of Moms Clean Air Force, an organization attending the Senate hearing.
The group comprised of area moms is centered around the future of the village for their kid's safety.
"My husband is from East Palestine and we moved here 4 years ago to raise our family, our two kids in small-town America," Allison said. "We really want to stay here but only if it's safe. Before this, I really never thought about how the transportation industry can affect a community like this. It is really alarming. Hopefully, the Senate hearing will really be the beginning of putting some type of legislation in place to ensure the train transportation is safe."
The community prayed for assurance that their town of 4700 people won't be forgotten.
The U.S. Senate Committee hearing will hear from Norfolk Southern CEO Alan Shaw along with Senators JD Vance and Sherrod Brown and members from the Ohio and US EPA. That's scheduled for Thursday at 10 a.m.