Three Years Later: Remembering the Flood

RAINELLE, W.Va. (WOAY) – Three years ago, flood waters infamously destroyed homes and businesses across the state.

Monica Venable owns the Smathers Funeral Chapel in Rainelle. Flood waters completely destroyed her business and her parent’s home next door. Today, everything seems to be completely back in order–but it wasn’t easy getting there.

Flood damage caused a nearby sewage facility to overflow. The contaminated waters reached up to five feet in some areas. The properties weren’t salvageable and needed to be  gutted and redone.

One of the most frustrating things for Venable was the misconception that once the water drains, the crisis is over. Venable says some people have told her they are better off since the flood because everything they own is brand new. She wants them to know that the fresh paint wasn’t worth the road to get there.

“For me to hear my neighbors crying for help and yelling for help,” she said.”There’s nothing anybody could pay you or give you that would erase that from you. While a lot [of damage has been repaired,] we still have much more to do.”

Venable installed a stained glass window in the chapel dedicated to the many friends, family and volunteers that helped her family get back on their feet.

Watch the video to hear Monica Venable and her family’s flood story.

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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.