‘It just occurred minute-by-minute,’ Former Rainelle mayor reflects on Thousand Year Flood disaster

1000-year-flood anniversary

RAINELLE, WV (WVNS) — Former Rainelle Mayor Andy Pendelton vividly remembered the sights and sounds from June 23, 2016.

“The logs… [and] rocks were coming off,” Pendelton said. “They had to stop the people down here.”

The gushing waters did not spare Pendelton and the town of Rainelle that day. As mayor at the time, it began a never-ending shift.

“I was inside city hall. I was outside city hall,” Pendelton said. “I was answering phones. It just occurred minute-by-minute. People would come up to me with ideas of how they could help. We were all thrilled with anything that anybody could do for us.”

They came from everywhere. First responders from FEMA, state and neighboring counties arrived to help with damage, not including the countless volunteers.

“They came up with food and storage, and carried food and water,” Pendelton said. “They were there for the whole time. It was unbelievable: the story they brought to our town.”

It is a story still written to this day by different authors: those helping rebuild a community near and dear to their heart.

“Everything was washed away,” Pendelton said. “But it wasn’t about what we had. It’s what the people out there needed, and what the people came to us and gave to us.”

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