Are you ready for your day tomorrow? What if tomorrow consisted of 8-10 inches of unexpected flooding right at your doorstep? What if the lake you live by increased by 43.5 billion gallons of water in just 28 hours? What if 23 people, possibly neighbors or relatives, were killed in a catastrophic flood with over 500 homes severely damaged? These horrendous scenarios are actual events that took place on June 23rd, 2016 in West Virginia. A storm struck the beautiful mountain state and the devastation was severe.
Being from West Virginia, I felt the damage firsthand. I was blessed to not be in the critical zone where people were being swept away to their ultimate death but overall I felt the after effects. There were only 10 counties out of West Virginia’s 55 that were not declared a state-of-emergency. Governor Earl Ray Tomblin ordered 400 members of the WV National Guard to be deployed to flood areas. Many homes were simply swept away by the strong current and some homes caught on fire from damaged gas lines. If people were lucky enough to have their house still standing, they had to be stripped down to the bare framing to get rid of all the mold and water damage that had occurred. Families lost everything including pets that could have been a comfort in their time of grief.
Most insurance policies do not cover flood damage but some people were fortunate enough to have purchased an extra policy on their account for flooding. While the numbers were few, the evidence of the coverage was obvious in the stricken area. The worry and stress shown on many faces were eased on those with flood insurance. The rebuilding or relocating efforts are less stressful and are being expedited more quickly. Currently, winter is approaching and families in West Virginia are still living in tent cities. Schools are ruined, books and materials gone and children are being transferred to different schools so they can get an education. Seniors in High School have been uprooted to schools hours away just so they can finish high school and try to go on to college. The state insurance and national insurance funds that exist for these catastrophic events are being put to use.
My area was very involved in flood relief from collecting cleaning supplies and essential clothing items to building temporary shelters. Just being there to listen to their stories and provide a smile and a hug was a needed job. I personally helped my church take supplies and bottled drinking water down on several
occasions. I felt that I was most useful playing with the smaller children living in makeshift shelters. At least for a few hours they could escape their sadness and be happy passing football or reading storybooks. A lot of volunteers came to the aid of these people who were and are still homeless and scared. Now that school is back in session, clubs that I am active in have held collection drives for warm coats, hats and gloves to be delivered as cold weather approaches. We also collected school supplies and are planning a drive for the holidays.
I have never seen anything quite like the out-pouring of love and compassion West Virginians showed on that dreary day in June and continue to display. Many heartbreaking stories have been reported about homes being destroyed or losing a loved one or pet. Insurance is very comforting and can be a tremendous blessing for people who have it. I highly recommend purchasing insurance on anything you own so you will always be protected and covered if and when these very stressful life-changing events occur. All types of insurance… life, home, flood, auto, liability, and health Insurance are about protection and providing a helping hand when unpredicted tragedies strike you or your loved ones. Many local West Virginia insurance agencies were very involved in this flood, stepping up to assist their policyholders and their area. Getting local insurance is also very beneficial to your community and state.
I have peace of mind knowing that my family has taken the extra precautions needed to steadily protect us, if anything were to occur. My mother and father have helped me to understand what insurance does and why I should always have insurance for myself when I step into the “real” world. I am very fortunate to have not been physically affected by the June floodings in West Virginia and also fortunate to be educated on why insurance is important to not only me but to everyone.
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