A year passes in Rainelle

(Photo by Mark Robinson)
Wilbert and LeeAnn Finn, photographed in the immediate aftermath of the flood last year. They’ve recently returned to their home in Rainelle.

Last year Wilbert and LeeAnn Finn were featured in a front page article of the Mountain Messenger. They told the story of wading out of their house with their children, catching a boat in the night, and spending the night at a shelter, on the floor.

A year later, LeeAnn Finn came to the door of the house on Eight Street in Rainelle, and talked about the months since the flood.

“It’s been a long year. We lived at my dad’s house in Virginia for a while, then moved in with friends here, then we found a place in Alderson to live for a while. We finally moved back home in October. The landlord fixed up the house. They had some insurance, but since it was a rental, the government agencies weren’t able to help. The landlord replaced everything up as far as the flood went, replaced walls, insulation, drywall, floors, the whole bathroom, and the laundry room,” Ms. Finn said.

“My husband lost his job at the sawmill. We got behind on bills. Several people in the family died, our dog died. There are six of us living here now. I’m here, and my husband, three kids, and an uncle.”

“I worry when it rains hard. We’ve learned that the struggle is real. We’ve been together for 11 years and never struggled so much in our life as the last year. Moving is hard. Losing all your stuff is hard.

“The neighborhood is changed. Lots of houses are gone. Just four houses have people in them now. Two houses are brand new, that one over there will get fixed. That one is going down. The Mennonites built the new houses. Two brothers moved in over there. They’re remodeling the bottom of the house while they live upstairs. That house on the corner has been for sale, but no one has been in it. I think it’s coming down. We’ll be able to see the park now.

“I’m glad the worst is over. It’s good to be back. But it was a hard year.”

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