Wednesday, July 22, 2015

A lesson in starting over

I live in a magical place where neighbors help neighbors. A place where when disaster strikes whole communities pull together. A land where communities and cities dig out from the rubble and rebuild bigger and better.

The weekend of July 11th I took my oldest niece on a whirlwind road trip, Pennsylvania, Maryland and Virginia. It was raining when we left. Flood warnings followed us across the state of West Virginia. When we crossed the line into Maryland we hit prefect weather that would stay with us throughout the weekend. Sometime after Midnight Monday morning we crossed back into West Virginia and ran headlong into another awful storm.

I pulled into my driveway sometime after 6am and went straight to sleep. I slept through a monster storm.

When I awoke we were getting the first few reports of people and homes being washed away in my county, near the where my mother lives.  Slowly my facebook newsfeed filled up with pictures, and stories of devastation. Twenty mobile homes were swept down stream from a trailer court. 150 homes in all where flooded or washed away in the storm. It took the flash flood 3 minutes to wash over the bank and fill homes to the roof line with murky, muddy water. My the paternal aunt and grandfather of my nieces lost everything as their homes were located near the creek. They made it out alive, but four others would not be so lucky. One was a wheelchair bound boy with cerebral palsy, whose mother watch helpless has the water pulled him from her grasp. Another was an grandmother and grandson. The grandson had already pulled several other family members to safety, he was fighting the flood water with his grandmother on his back and a young boy under his arm. The boy was found alive in a tree.

International news outlets have picked up this story. A German foreign exchanged student shared with us a news clipped from his local papers report on this flood.

Everyone is doing their part to restore order, dig out and rebuild. Neighbors helping neighbors, communities rebuilding. One local Sheriff's Deputy has even started carrying pet food in his car so he can find pets displaced by the flood and reunite them with their owners. No one carries the burden alone.