RAINELLE, W.Va. — Sitting on a folding chair in front of his flood-ruined home with his wife, Becky, at his side, Russ Gilkeson proclaimed, “We’ve been so blessed.”
Gilkeson said ever since the June 23 flood swept through his home, along with so many others in Rainelle and across the region, he’s heard no complaints — just words and actions of support, especially from the faith community. “The power of the Lord has got me,” he said with quiet sincerity.
The former Greenbrier West High School coach made those remarks to a crowd of about 100 people who gathered on his front lawn Wednesday — the 55th day after the flood — to celebrate the groundbreaking for a new home that the Appalachia Service Project (ASP) is building for the couple. The Gilkesons” home will be the first of many that ASP and its partners plan to construct in the “Rebuilding Rainelle” initiative.