Community gathers to remember historic flooding
CLENDENIN, W.Va. (WSAZ)-- Several gathered to remember last year's historic and deadly flooding Saturday morning at Herbert Hoover High School.
The event honored the flood victims who lost their lives, but it also celebrated the flood recovery effort up to this point.
While different pastors and community officials spoke to the crowd at the Hoover football field, flood victims like Andrea Underwood listened.
"I was born in raised in Clendenin and I believe it's going to come back bigger and better," Underwood told WSAZ.
Andrea Underwood's story is similar to a number of families in the Clendenin area. Her family's home was completely destroyed last year.
"We had three kids, the clothes on our back, and one vehicle that's all we had," Underwood said.
With the help of several different volunteer groups Underwood said her family was able to push forward.
"I think it's great that outlying communities come together and help each other out," volunteer Jennifer Paugh said.
Paugh is a volunteer from Kitzmiller, Maryland. She said Kitzmiller was hit by a flood back in the 80's so making trips to Clendenin takes on a greater meaning.
"The amount of donations: the money donations, the non-perishable food, the clothing, it's been overwhelming," Paugh said.
The Maryland volunteer group provided the food for the flood memorial.
While Saturday's event focused on the community's progress, most agreed there is still a lot of work to be done.
John Ballengee, a chairman of the Greater Kanawha Long Term Recovery Committee, credited flood victims for being easy to work with.
"It's a methodical process," Ballengee told WSAZ about the effort to rebuild the region. "West Virginians are patient as well as tough," Ballengee added.
With a year now separating the community from the tragic flooding, victims in Clendenin like Andrea Underwood want to move on and come out on the other side even stronger.
"The best is yet to come," Underwood said.