“This is our way of saying we love you, we care, we’re still here for you and we appreciate everybody,” said Mayor Andrea Pendleton a year to the day after the June 23, 2016, flood, at a candlelight remembrance service held at a packed Rainelle United Methodist Church last Friday evening.
It was an emotional time for the people of Rainelle.
Pendleton put together the candlelight vigil with 500 votive candles set in paper bags lining the sidewalk and the steps up to the door of the church, as a way to express remembrance of those who passed away and those who were impacted by the flood.
“I loved them and knew every one of them, but this is my way of remembering them,” said Pendleton in a press release.
The mayor wanted to reach out and invite those from other communities to attend as well. Four people in the Rainelle community lost their lives in the flood. The program for the evening included remembrance of all 23 of the victims who died throughout West Virginia.
The remembrance service included remarks from retired President of the Rainelle VFD board and retired Chief George Brooks, who offered recognition for the heroic efforts of the first responders and rescue teams during the flood. Dave Lumsden with the Greater Greenbrier Long-Term Recovery Committee, along with several local residents, shared stories of their flood experiences, and State Senator Ron Miller gave a pastoral message to the gathering. The Greenbrier Springhouse Entertainers also participated in the ceremonies, as did director of entertainment at The Greenbrier, Jeff Bryant, who played “Taps” on his trumpet at the close of the ceremony.
Cutlines: The Rainelle United Methodist Church, the site of the Candlelight Remembrance Service in Rainelle on June 23, 2017, the one-year anniversary of the flood.
Attendance was standing room only inside the church, as community members heard services for those who were lost one year ago.