Family finally has a new home four years after flooding

GREENBRIER COUNTY, WV (WOAY) – Four years after losing their home to the 2016 floods, a Rainelle family finally gets the keys to a new one.

“We had pretty much given up hope,” said homeowner David Woodrum.

In the year following their loss to the 2016 floods, the Woodrum family lived in five different places before finding somewhere to stay long-term.

“We moved in November 2017 so that has been a real blessing,” said Priscilla Woodrum.

Between three and four feet of floodwater took over their home in 2016, forcing a family member and their pets to live in the attic until they could be rescued.

“The kayakers came in and they unloaded and… I ran down there to ask them ‘can you go get my brother and my animals?'” said Priscilla.

The home was a complete loss, as were most of their belongings besides a few photos. After years and multiple relief organizations telling them “no,” the Mennonite Disaster Service reached out to help.

“I had met them around…the beginning of this year and realized that here it is 4 1/2 years after they lost their house they were still waiting on their home to be replaced,” said Larry Stoner, the regional operations coordinator for Mennonite Disaster Service.

Despite COVID-19 pushing back the construction start date, the project was finished in just a few months.

“We were supposed to begin construction in March but coronavirus made it so that we were not able to get any volunteer crews in to do work,” said Rev. Dr. J.F. Lacaria, the executive director for disaster recovery for the United Methodist Church. “It kept getting moved forward until July when we were able to begin construction.”

Now, the family celebrates a feeling of belonging and being at home once again.

“It’s very humbling,” said David. “You just don’t hear that anymore. Everybody is about themselves.”

The Woodrums’ new home cost about $88,000, with the United Methodist Committee on Relief providing the principal funding.

Kassie Simmons
Kassie Simmons joined the team in January 2019 as a weekend journalist. She graduated from Virginia Tech in just two and a half years with a BA in multimedia journalism. During her short time at Virginia Tech, she served as the editor for the university’s chapter of The Tab. Kassie was named the top reporter for The Tab at Virginia Tech on multiple occasions and made the list for the top 30 reporters for The Tab in the U.S. She also studied theater performance and minored in creative writing. Before coming to WOAY, Kassie interned at WSLS in Roanoke and the Tidewater Review in her hometown of West Point, Va. She has loved following breaking news since her childhood and has a passion for delivering the stories people care most about. Kassie is excited to be working in Southern West Virginia and looks forward to all the adventures ahead of her. You can follow her on Twitter at @KassieLSimmons and like her page on Facebook. If you have a story you think she should check out, send her an email at ksimmons@woay.com.