Woman recalls living in condemned home while waiting for help from RISE

1000-year-flood anniversary

RUPERT, WV (WVNS) — Fiver years following the Thousand Year Flood and some people are just now getting back on their feet. Debra Jennings was stranded for three days at a gas station off the Sam Black exit.

She told 59News she prayed her dog was still alive and her home was still standing while she waited for the flood waters to recede.

“I got up in the back of one of the National Guard trucks, it drove through the water to get us up to the fire department. I think I cried the whole time, we were just crammed in there, looking at the devastation it was just horrible,” Jennings said.

When Jennings finally made it back to her home, water was still all over the floor. She lost everything in her basement and her home was condemned. She reached out to RISE for help, but it wasn’t until September 2020 she was finally able to move out. Jennings said she was left with no choice other than to live in a home that was not safe for more than four years with her dog.

“It was mold and water everywhere in the basement, mold growing all over the windows. I stayed sick, he stayed sick,” Jennings said.

Although Jennings’ house did not meet safety standards, she still had to pay a mortgage. After years of waiting, it was finally her turn to receive help from RISE. On March 20th, 2021 she was given the keys to her brand new home. Four and a half years from the time the flood did its damage, she finally had a place fit to live in.

“There’s not words to describe how it felt. There is no place like home,” Jennings said.

Jennings is back to some of her old hobbies, like planting flowers in her garden, Sprouting new life into home sweet home.

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