CHARLESTON, W. Va. - West Virginia Army National Guard (WVARNG) Private 1st Class James Jarrell, an interior electrician (12R), has been making a positive impact for flood recovery efforts in the state through his work in the RISE West Virginia program.

Jarrell, a native of Van, West Virginia, joined the WVARNG two years after high school, saying he had always wanted to serve in the military and felt that it would be a good challenge for him.

Since July 2018, Jarrell has been working with RISE West Virginia, a flood recovery program for those affected by the devastating 2016 flood that impacted large swaths of the state. 

Each day, Jarrell assists a small group of WVARNG Soldiers with construction management for the more than 400 homeowner cases that remain in need of reconstruction, rehabilitation or replacement. Additionally, he assists with conducting inspections to ensure compliance with U.S. Housing and Urban Development (HUD) standards and quality assurance/quality control of construction as it progresses.

Recently, Jarrell was one of three WVARNG members working with the RISE program who attended a training class for a software program called Xactimate, in Cincinnati, Ohio. The program, developed by software company Xactware, allows users to input measurements and materials from existing structures damaged during the flooding event and then provides a cost analysis to determine if a structure is economically salvageable through repairs, or if it will be more cost effective to demolish and replace the structure with new construction. 


"You take the measurements of a structure and note the different materials used," he said. "Then you use the program to create a digital replica of the structure based on the measurements and materials noted in the field. The program then generates quantities of each material and an estimate of how much it would cost to repair or replace the items damaged."

That training gave Jarrell and his fellow Soldiers a firm grasp of the capabilities of the program and how to adjust many of the variables to generate accurate estimates of damage to structures.

After completing the class, Jarrell was able to put his knowledge and expertise of the Xactimate program immediately to work to create a detailed analysis of a large-scale RISE project property, allowing it to move forward. For his efforts, he was coined by the West Virginia National Guard's Senior Enlisted Leader, Command Sgt. Maj. Phillip Cantrell.

Jarrell noted that his work with the program has allowed him to meet many people in his beautiful home state and help them out in their time of need.

"My favorite part of being a member of the West Virginia National Guard (WVNG) is definitely the opportunity it affords me to help the state that I call home," he said. "Being a part of the military has given me a sense of pride in being a part of something larger than myself. It has also taught me discipline, which has been instrumental in my success."