Five years later: Big Sandy region remembers Mother's Day weekend flood

PIKE/FLOYD COUNTY, Ky. (WYMT) - It has been five years since the Mothers Day weekend flood that impacted more than 1,800 families in the Big Sandy region. Widespread flash flooding destroyed homes, businesses, and schools... and there were hundreds of water rescues.

Five years ago, much of the region was under water. Donna Howell remembers, "We had a lot of rain the day before...well several days before. Of course, I never imagined it would flood." She says, "It was a nightmare."

Flood waters devastated the City of Martin in Floyd County, destroying pretty much anything in its path.

Workers at the Martin Post Office remember seeing the water start to rush down the streets and say within hours that water filled many local homes and businesses. The flood forcing dozens to move or rebuild. It took the post office more than one year to reopen.

Howell, who is the Martin Postmaster says, "I know people lose their homes and stuff but it was just as devastating to lose the place we worked in."

Pike County was also hit hard. Teachers at Belfry Middle remember getting to the school by boat, finding the basement filled with water and mud. Test scores, graduation caps and gowns...all destroyed with three weeks left in the school year.

Jeremy Howard says, "Looking back it seems this community, this faculty, this staff...did what they could to make the best out of a bad situation."

They did that by sticking together.

Megan Smith says, "It was amazing to watch our culture, we knew we had culture here at Belfry Middle and we knew it was strong. It was amazing to watch everyone come together as a team."

In all 13 counties impacted by the flood, all exemplifying the foundation of Eastern Kentucky...loyal, hard working people.

Kim Meddings says, "The flood was a good indication of that because we came together and showed what we are all about. We've got that inner strength."

Holding tight to their roots even in the heaviest of storms.

Belfry ended that school year early and thanks to the hard work by faculty, staff, the community, and inmates from the Pike County Detention Center ... the basement was cleaned up and renovated in three months.

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