Flood victims still recovering one year later

By: Angela Sparkman Email
By: Angela Sparkman Email

This time last year, flood waters filled parts of Bell and Knox Counties.

One year has passed since parts of Middlesboro and Kayjay were under water, but recovery efforts continue.

June 20th, 2011, floodwaters sliced through Middlesboro, filling homes and businesses. At Jim Mullins house, the water was above his mailbox and several feet high in his home.

"I had to escape from my own home and watch it destroy everything I had," Mullins said.

Mullins has tried to rebuild this past year.

"It's been rough. I haven't gotten over it yet. Just seeing all your stuff loose, and no way to put it back," Mullins said.

Volunteers helped him put in a new home, this one raised up on blocks in case the water rises again.

"I don't worry about it no more. I've lost all of it anyway, so I ain't gonna worry about it," Mullins said.

The Middlesboro Mayor, Bill Kelley, says the rebuilding and clean-up in the town is 95 percent finished.

On the one year anniversary in Kayjay in Knox County, Tammy Wilson and her family were waist deep in the swimming pool water, much different than last year when they were waist deep in floodwater.

"It was horrible, all muddy, everybody was upset. Everybody lost everything just about," Wilson said.

Wilson says many of her neighbors decided to move instead of rebuild. She and her family cleaned up and rebuilt their damaged homes. Although one year has passed, she says they are a long ways from full recovery.

"At my mom's house, we find things we would've thought that still wouldn't be in there, and there's still stuff we have to replace," Wilson said.

She says they will not give up and get back to normal.

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