Newspaper article Charleston Gazette Mail

W.Va. Tragedy Brings Flood of Memories ; Community Gave Meals, Drinks, Love and Compassion

Newspaper article Charleston Gazette Mail

W.Va. Tragedy Brings Flood of Memories ; Community Gave Meals, Drinks, Love and Compassion

Article excerpt

Caring West Virginians are saddened by the death and devastation last weeks storms brought to many areas of the state. We ask what we can do to help, and we wonder how we can make sure the help we provide will get to the people in need.

Allow me to relate the experience of how loving and caring people in the community helped my family when a flood damaged my parents home 19 years ago.

The difference was we were much luckier than many of those affected by last weeks floods. While Mom and Dads house faced major damage, the flood didnt bring the utter devastation so many West Virginia families are experiencing today.

Still, I relay the story to give readers who have never experienced flooding a sense if ever so slight of what our states flood victims are going through.

Mom and Dad lived in a remote modern cabin seemingly safe above the picturesque Llano River in the Texas Hill Country, far from city noise and hassles. Living in such a place had always been a dream for Dad, and he was able to realize it after he retired in 1993. Like so many homes along normally quiet and picturesque West Virginia rivers, this home was a welcoming place for Mom and Dads five grown children, the childrens spouses and 14 grandchildren, most of whom were teenagers by 1997.

Those grown kids, spouses and grandchildren, residents of four separate states, were all heading there for a family reunion in June 1997 when heavy storms in central Texas dumped nearly 20 inches of rain upstream of Mom and Dads place.

Most of us arrived the day after four and a half feet of water had flooded the house and then receded, leaving a thick, nasty, smelly, gooey layer of muck on everything it touched.

It turned out the family reunion plan was fortunate. Instead of enjoying several days of swimming, rafting and playing, though, this small army of family got to work. We removed everything from the house, ripped out the carpets and started cleaning everything.

In fact, the photo in Sundays Gazette-Mail of a muddied woman going through flood-soaked family photographs at a destroyed home in Clendenin was eerily similar to one that appeared in the Austin American Statesman after a reporter and photographer visited Mom and Dads home during our cleanup. …

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