Waverly feels pain of Kentucky flood victims

Published: Aug. 1, 2022 at 7:24 PM CDT
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WAVERLY, Tenn. (WSMV) - One town that knows the trauma of devastating flash flooding is Waverly.

Victims there can sympathize with the latest tragic flooding event that happened in Eastern Kentucky where the death toll has now climbed to nearly 40.

“So much horror to think of what those people are going through because we have gone through it,” Waverly resident Gene Trotter said. “Also, it brought back a lot of memories that were not pleasant.”

In August 2021, a flood killed 20 people in Waverly, destroying or damaging hundreds of homes.

Gene and Jo Trotter survived the flood, but their belongings were destroyed. They spent months away from home until it was repaired to the point they could return.

“I was in shock. I couldn’t put two sentences together for a week,” Jo Trotter said.

The Trotters know the people of Eastern Kentucky are probably feeling helpless. Their advice is to accept help from the hundreds of volunteers, churches and charities pushing resources into the area.

“I hope that everybody in Kentucky will take all the help that they can get, and ask for your help, tell them what you need,” Jo Trotter said. “We were not forgotten. We were not forgotten.”

As anticipated, the recovery in Waverly has been long. Nearly a year since the flood and volunteers are still helping rebuild.

Members of First Church Coral Springs out of Florida are on a mission trip in Waverly this week, helping with recovery and rebuilding efforts through the non-profit Inspiritus.

“We have the luxury of having four walls and a home, and to come to a place where there’s been a lot of hurt and a lot of pain and destruction. There are people in need,” First Church Coral Springs youth leader Chris Linderman said. “Just remember that there are people just like our group, our church, that wants to be the hands and feet of Jesus.”

While both volunteers and victims in Waverly feel sympathy with those in Kentucky – they both have a message of encouragement to Kentucky flood victims. They said to be patient in the recovery process and take all the help you can get because life will eventually return to normal.

“Our neighbors are gone, many different people we’ve been neighbors with for 50 years, and we miss them so much but we’re thankful to be home,” Gene Trotter said. “Hopefully the outcome that (Kentucky) will have will be as good as ours.”

Click if you would like to donate to disaster relief efforts through Inspiritus.

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