‘I was desperate:’ Woman shares story of grandmother in viral photo

Published: Jul. 30, 2022 at 11:53 PM EDT
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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - By now, you have probably seen the photo of an elderly woman sitting in her home as it filled with flood water.

The woman is Mae Amburgey. She is 98 years old and is from Letcher County. She was in her home with her son and grandson as the waters rose.

“People were just standing there watching, trying to get to my grandmother, and brother, and uncle,” said Missy Amburgey Crovetti. “The current was so swift.”

Crovetti’s brother took the now-viral photo of their grandmother. She says she wasn’t going to post it but was desperate to get help.

“You just make decisions you would never make,” Crovetti said. “I would never post a picture of my grandmother looking like that in a million years. If I had known she was safe, I would never have put that picture on there. But I was desperate. You couldn’t get phone calls out to anyone, so I did it, and there’s been a worldwide response.”

From outside, neighbors were trying to get to the home, but the current was too fast and unsafe for them to get across.

“I didn’t know if my brother was alive for a while. I had been told that they thought he had washed downstream so I had six or eight hours where I was questioning.”

Thankfully, everyone is safe. Mom Mae is being treated for a cut on her leg, but will be okay. Her home is destroyed, and the family is trying to figure out what is next for where she will stay.

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