PARKERSBURG, W.Va. — As the community gathered Wednesday night for the Flood of Love benefit concert to help flood victims in southern West Virginia, a resident impacted by the disaster was thankful for the aid.
Russell Underwood of Clendenin in Kanawha County was in town for the concert.
Underwood, a chemical plant worker, said he and his family lost their home on June 23. He, wife Andrea and children Maci, Brynlee and Ace were home when the Elk River and other creeks in the area started to rise.
“We left when we noticed the water was really coming up,” Underwood said.
That was a Thursday and they couldn’t get back in until that Saturday.
“It got destroyed,” Underwood said of their home. “We are ripping all of the walls out to rebuild.
“It is a long tough process.”
The family lost everything they had, including baby pictures, their furniture, appliances and other personal items.
Underwood is very thankful to the people in the Parkersburg area for putting this concert on and helping people in the southern part of the state.
“It is fantastic to see all West Virginia can open up and help each other out,” he said. “It is just amazing to see the outpouring of volunteers that we are seeing back home.
“To have them doing this benefit up here is just awesome.”
Nowadays it seems more and more like a rarity for people to come together to help each other out.
“In today’s world, you don’t expect things like this to happen,” Underwood said. “It is pretty awesome.”
The whole town of Clendenin was affected by the flood. Of 26 businesses in the town, only one was not impacted by the flood.
The town lost its only gas station, lost the grocery store and lost a couple restaurants, among other losses.
“It is going to be tough to come back from all of this,” Underwood said.
Some people are committed to rebuilding while others have left.
“A lot of people said they are going to rebuild and bring some businesses back,” Underwood said.
The local post office was flooded and people were getting their mail from a mail truck. Underwood said a postal worker said they have already lost 60 postal box customers.
“Not everyone is done,” he said. “Some people are standing strong and building back while some people can’t. A lot of people don’t have the funds to build back.”
Underwood is still thankful to live in West Virginia.
“West Virginia is a great state,” he said. “It is not like other places where people go in and start riots when something like this happens. We all band together and come out stronger.”