Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Library houses stranded families

This group of people was stranded at the Rupert Public Library during the historic floods that occurred throughout Greenbrier County recently.  They rode out the floods until they could be rescued by the National Guard.

The Rupert Public Library had just started their summer reading program at 1 pm on the day of the flood.  The library director noticed that rain water was pouring under the door to the utility room.  She tried to contain the flooding water while the reading program was being held.  Thankfully, the water was diverted to the floor drain after a few hours. 
The library staff learned that the road was closed at both ends of Rupert.  Two families attending the reading program were stranded at the library.  Soon, stranded tourists and employees that had barely made it out of Rainelle started coming into the library.
Eleven students from James Madison University and George Mason University in Virginia had been white-water rafting in Fayette County.  They camped out in the library and slept in their sleeping bags. 
The power and telephone service never turned off. The students were able to use our public computers, read books, played cards, and told stories.
A couple visiting Greenbrier County from California were welcomed to stay.  The man was here searching for the Rupert High School, where his father graduated in 1950, and the town of Cornstalk, where his father was born.  As it turned out, one of the stranded residents was related to him, and able to give a history of the family.  The library director found a school yearbook from 1948 in the library yearbook collection, that had a picture of his father in the 10th grade. 
One man stranded was working in Charleston that day, and of all days, decided to take the scenic route home to Waynesboro, VA.
One woman employed by the Rainelle Medical Center was stranded as well.  She said she was one of the last people to get out of town.
A family of five, traveling from Kentucky to Williamsburg, VA were so glad that the library was there to give them a place to relax.  The library's doors never closed during the three days.  People came in who needed to use the library's facilities or just rest.  Children had toys to play with and movies to watch.
Thankfully, the group was able to walk to Rupert to find food and necessities.  The Mexican restaurant was open and had the Weather Channel videos of the flood in Greenbrier County.  The Handy Place brought the group free pizzas, and the Dollar General had everything else they needed.
On Friday evening the National Guard took six of the local stranded people out to where relatives could pick them up.  The rest of the people decided to drive an alternate route Friday evening to get home.  The library director, her husband, and their dog, Susie, stayed until the road opened on Saturday midday. 
"We are so glad we could offer a little comfort to a few stranded people," said Carol McClung of the Rupert Public Library.