Norfolk Southern Art Sale Helps Roanoke Community

Roanoke, VA - You might not realize that Norfolk Southern has quite an art collection.

As it turns out, the collection has really come in handy.

Earlier this year, Norfolk Southern pledged their support to pitch in more than $1.5 million to help get the historic 611 locomotive running again.

The Virginia Museum of Transportation is not the only group to benefit from the railroad dipping into its collection.

The holiday season makes for busy times at Feeding America Southwest Virginia.

The season of giving is also the season of need for many, and often times those that give the most, get the most in return.

"Water and food will not mix... until it's cooked, so we need to get the roofs fixed and do some patching but that adds up to a lot of money," said John Shoulders with Feeding America Southwest Virginia.

Norfolk Southern donated more than $200,000 to the non-profit to fix a roof that is becoming quite a problem.

"It's a godsend. We asked them with to help with the cost of repairing some of the roof as a lead gift and low and behold they came up and said, 'We will just do the whole thing'," Shoulders explained.

The money came from a 1959 painting by American artist Mark Rothko that the railroad sold for $3.7 million.

It's the latest grant the company handed out, but not the first.

"To have Norfolk Southern believe in 611, believe in this museum, and believe in Roanoke with this amount of a gift, which is the largest gift we have ever received in cash. It is an incredible thing for us," said Bev Fitzpatrick.

The Virginia Museum of Transportation also felt the sale of the artwork to the tune of $1.5 million.

The money covers more than half the funds needed to put the iconic locomotive back on the tracks.

"We wouldn't be here without the railroad and to have them, in 2013, continue to reinvest in this community is a very significant thing and I hope Roanokers and people in western Virginia recognize the symbolism of that," Fitzpatrick said.