WHITE SULPHUR SPRINGS, WV (WVNS) — From his pulpit every Sunday, Pastor Randy Gilliam preaches on the many blessings given from above. One of them is his niece Mykayla Phillips, an integral part to both her church family and her actual family.
“My granddaughters loved to spend time with Mykayla,” Gilliam said. “She would play on their level, get down, play with the baby dolls and all that. She was just a joy to be around.”
Gillam said his niece was appreciative of the blessing in nature and its beauty.
“It would not surprise you if she would be walking around and a little lizard would come out of her pocket,” Gilliam explained. “Because that did happen a few times.”
On June 23rd, 2016, however, nature was anything but kind. Flooding tore through Mykayla’s home, forcing her family to evacuate while holding on for dear life with nothing but an extension cord.
But the waters were just too strong.
“It jerked Mykayla so hard that it broke that extension cord and she headed down,” Gilliam said. “It was unbelievable how strong and how deep and how mighty that water was.”
47 heart-wrenching days passed before rescuers found her body.
Almost five years later, Gilliam heads down to Brad Paisley Community Park at least once a month to enjoy the sights and sounds like Mykayla did. The park also has a play area bearing her name: MyKayla’s Playground.
“We often go down there just to spend time down there, go where that house was… where this happened,” Gilliam said.
While she is no longer here physically, Phillips is still in the hearts and minds of those she touched in her short 14 years on this earth.
“Her spirit does live on,” Gilliam said. “It’s a daily reminder of God’s goodness and God’s grace.”
Brad Paisley Community Park and Mykayla’s Playground, located on Mill Hill Drive, is open to the public from dawn to dusk.