Rebuilding the Mountain State: 2016 Flood One Year Later

Jun 23, 2017

This week on Inside Appalachia, we are revisiting some of the people whose lives were changed forever after the flooding of 2016. This episode was part of a TV special called A Year of Recovery. We hear about the hurt of losing loved ones and how flood victims are coping after the disaster. We hear why when a community goes through devastation together, they can come out stronger.

Learning to Live Without a Loved One 

Keith Thompson lost his father Edward Thompson in the 2016 flood. His mother Gerda passed shortly after. But he doesn’t look at the flood in a resentful way. Thompson reminisces, “Many times my mother said to me, 'I want to live one day longer than your dad.. because nobody will take care of him like I can." Today, his child hood home is up for sale, and Thompson is doing the best he can to move on without his parents.


Pastor and musician John Wyatt is a resident of Rainelle, in Greenbrier County. His area was one of the most devastated areas after the 2016 floods. 15 lives in his county alone were taken by the storm. His house is the only one left on his block today. He speaks of how his community is coming together to rebuild their community.

Mennonites Rebuild Clendenin

Thousands of volunteers have been helping people rebuild after the 2016 flood. The Mennonite Disaster Services have been working hard to help the people of Clendenin get their homes back. They’ve rebuilt 10 homes that will be constructed above the flood plain to try and help ensure protection from other potential floods. Jane Gannaway, executive director of the West Virginia Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster says, “One person cannot do it all, it takes everybody.”

The Struggle to Stay

We’ve followed Mark Combs as he follows his dreams for the last few months, the second character we've featured in our Struggle to Stay series. We’ve watched him go to the other side of the country to find his new home and tried to pursue his calling as an actor. Now we follow Mark as he claws his way through hard times as he begins his new life. But he’s hitting a few more rough patches than he had originally planned. Listen this week to the conclusion of Mark Combs’ Struggle to Stay story.

Music in this show was provided by Randy Newman and Joe Ely as heard on Mountain Stage, Chris Oxley, John Wyatt,  Marisa Anderson, and Larry Dowling.

Inside Appalachia is produced by Jessica Lilly, and Roxy Todd. Jesse Wright is the executive producer.  Patrick Stephens is the audio mixer. Claire Hemme also helps produce.