WV volunteers work hard

Lula Jennings wasn't at home June 11 when a flash flood ruined her trailer home and killed Susie, her beagle.

BY TRAVIS DUNN | ELKVIEW, W.Va. | June 26, 2003

"I don't even want to talk about it. It makes me cry."

—Lula Jennings

Lula Jennings wasn't at home June 11 when a flash flood ruined her trailer home and killed Susie, her beagle.

"It took my dog and drown it," she said. "She had heaven here. She had just the best place," pointing to where a fenced-in doghouse once stood. The fence, along with Susie and the doghouse, washed away in the flood.

"I wouldn't care if it took the whole trailer out of here as long as it left my dog safe," Jennings said. "I don't even want to talk about it. It makes me cry."

While Jennings had fire insurance, she was not covered from what happened to her trailer.

"I couldn't afford the water thing," she said. "God, they want to charge you a fortune."

Jennings said she will likely get assistance from the Federal Emergency Management Agency, but in the meantime volunteers with Southern Baptist Disaster Relief are helping clean up the mess on her property.

It's not a pretty sight her Subaru is deluged, the entire floor is ruined, and most of her belongings were soaked.

"It never went inside but it got all underneath and all the floors are ruined," she said.

The five volunteers helping out Monday were mostly cleaning out soggy insulation from the underbelly of Jenning's trailer. That, along with whatever other debris they collected, they stuffed in trash bags. Dozens of bags were piled in Jenning's front yard.

The work is messy. The volunteers don facemasks and rubber gloves when they crawl under the house. And sometimes they find unexpected surprises, such as dead cats.

"I said 'Oh, that's a dead animal,'" said Pearl Setzer, a Southern Baptist volunteer from North Carolina. "But I knew it couldn't be her dog because it was already rotten."

Besides Setzer and her husband Dennis, Larry Osborne and two teens, Garrett Clarke and Tyler Case, were also helping Jennings on Monday. Jennings, who is elderly and has a bad back, watched them work and gave them encouragement.

"That's the workingest woman I've ever seen in my life," Jennings said, pointing to Pearl Setzer. "They've been real good people. I can't believe there's people like that. I'm one of those people who's used to doing things for themselves, and I'm not used to all this help."

Jennings wasn't the only one on New Hope Road to get flooded out. Seven trailers, including hers, incurred some damage from the two floods that hit in less than a week. And these seven are just the ones on the property of Richard Grose there were dozens of others down the hill that were also hit.

Grose said the worst damage was to a small building he rented out to Tray Clarke, a young man who had just set up a fledgling computer business in the small garage. The garage is gone, along with $40,000 in uninsured computer equipment, Grose said.

"He was just getting set up," Grose said. "Poor boy, I feel more sorry for him than I do for myself."

Computers weren't the only expensive pieces of machinery washing down the creek. A Cadillac floated for more than a mile down the hill on June 11, he said.

Grose, however, lives way up in the hills, and his own home wasn't affected by the flood.

"I've lived on a hill all my life," he said. "If I get flooded out, there won't be nothing left of Charleston."

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