WHITE SULPHUR SPRINGS, WV (WVNS) — June 23, 2016 is a day many people will not forget, including former mayor of White Sulphur Springs, Lloyd Haynes. The flood struck on a Thursday, his wife died two days later on Saturday, June 25, 2016.
“On Thursday, when it kept raining and raining and raining, I had just gotten my wife out of the hospital and brought her home on that day,” Haynes said. “There was a prescription that had been written for her. I said, ‘well I got her home, and I gotta go to the drug store.'”
Haynes said he never made it to the drug store. In fact, after he turned around to head home, he said his car started to float slightly until he had enough traction to get himself moving.
Haynes added, that while his wife was worried about the rain, the Thousand Year Flood was not the cause of her death but instead an illness.
“That Saturday, my wife passed away and that added to the problem,” Haynes said. “I was trying to make those arrangements and trying to keep the city going, but due to the faithfulness and the determination of the people on my staff, we kept things going.”
Throughout that frightful Thursday and over the course of the next two days, Lloyd Haynes spent most of his time running between the city of White Sulphur Springs and his home.
He said businesses and community members cleaned out their refrigerators and prepared meals to help feed those in town, and then they started the clean up.
“That was before my wife passed away when I left home and came down and looked at all the damage,” Haynes said. “It looked like a third world country. It was devastating. It made all of us wonder how in the world we were gonna come out of this.”
While the damage from the flood weighed heavy on his heart, after losing his wife, Haynes said he never had time to grieve her loss.
“It was really, really difficult for me because in many ways I didn’t have time to grieve. This might sound silly to some people, but my mind was running here, there and everywhere,” Haynes said. “I was trying to call my kids and family members, and her family. And then the telephone rings and something else happened in the city. I run back to the city and run back home. It was very difficult. It’s something I don’t want to face again in my lifetime.”
Haynes added he could not have overcome any of the obstacles thrown at him if it were not for the community of White Sulphur Springs offering their support.
“If you ask me now how I did it, I can’t tell you,” Haynes said. “I can only give God the credit for helping me through it because I don’t think on my own I could’ve withstood that and still performed my duties for the city.”
He expressed gratitude for donations of time and money for recovery, and said, in some ways, the town is better off than they were before.
Lloyd Haynes now works for the City of White Sulphur Springs as the City Manager, with a portrait of his wife behind his desk.