Volunteers rebuild Clendenin woman's house after devastating flooding

Published: Sep. 25, 2016 at 4:35 PM EDT
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CLENDENIN, W.Va (WSAZ) -- A Clendenin woman and victim of the June 23 flooding is receiving some much needed help this weekend. A group of volunteers, many of them from Capitol City Baptist Church in South Charleston, flooded the woman's home to rebuild it from the floors up.

Betty Taylor is elderly and lives alone. She knows without volunteer help, she never would have been able to clean out her home after the flooding or rebuild.

"One day you have something and the next day you don't have anything," she says, referring to how quickly her life was changed during the flooding.

The volunteer group was organized by Pastor Kenny Townsend, a volunteer who has been helping flood victims from Elkview to Rainelle since the initial disaster relief began.

Taylor was home when the river waters began to rise. The day after the floods began, she broke her hip. Ambulances could not access downtown Clendenin since the waters had not resided, so a neighbor rode her on a side by side to the local cemetery that sits up on a hill. She then had to be flown by helicopter to a Charleston hospital.

After Taylor's extended hospital stay ended, she had to live with her son for more than a month. He found her a camper to live in until the weather gets cold, and that is where she has been staying for the past month. The camper is meeting her needs for now, but with winter just around the corner, she is worried her home will not be ready in time.

"I'd love to be in by Thanksgiving or Christmas, but I have to be in before it gets cold weather," she says.

Both Taylor and Townsend are relying in their faith in God to help the Town of Clendenin through this tragedy. Taylor keeps a bible on a side table in her camper to remind her of her survival in the floods and the love and support she's seen from strangers. When volunteers come to help her, they sign her bible and leave a message of hope behind.

She says her short-term memory comes and goes, but she will never forget the love that her neighbors and strangers have shown her after the devastating floods.

The group did not expect to finish remodeling the house this weekend, but Taylor is hoping their progress will make her road home by the holidays a real possibility.