Church houses flood victim for months in Covington

COVINGTON (WSLS 10) - Months after devastating floods in West Virginia, and right here in our area, things are continuing to get back to normal.

Covington was one of the hardest hit areas in June's flooding, and one local woman is sharing her story of the kindness she received from complete strangers after losing her home.

Diana Patterson is actually a dispatcher that was working in the 911 call center the night of the flood, only to come back to find her own house destroyed.

The water filled her home with mud, causing more than 40 thousand dollars in damage, and leaving her with nowhere to stay, but that all changed the next day thanks to a complete stranger.

Patterson's floors and walls were destroyed, but she says, it didn't take long for people to offer help.

"They were driving by, knock on your door, what can we do? What do you need? How can we help?" said Patterson.

One of those was Pastor Dennis Nicely of Gospel Light Baptist Church just up the street.

He and his wife heard that Patterson was planning to leave her ruined home to live with her daughter more than 40 miles away.

"To have housing with family, she'd go to Roanoke and drive. My wife said that won't work. She said you'll go up to the proper chambers and you'll stay there until you get your house fixed," said Nicely.

Patterson was shocked and grateful for the offer.

"I couldn't believe that they would be so generous because I don't attend the church and I've never met them before so for them to open up that offer for a stranger just to try to help was amazing," said Patterson.

Patterson moved into a small room in the loft of the church, and she soon learned she would need to stay there longer than expected.

"The first day that I came in and they had the floors torn up and you can see ground underneath, because I've just got crawl space, I was like oh this isn't good, this is not going to be a two-week job," said Patterson.

In the end, the repairs on Patterson's home took more than two months, but Pastor Nicely says it didn't bother him one bit.

"If it took 6 months, she had a home right here," said Nicely.

While Patterson stayed there, Gospel Light also collected supplies for other flood victims.

Nicely says it's the silver lining to a widespread tragedy.

"It brought people together, and you know that's what Christians are about. That's what church is supposed to be," said Nicely.

Patterson says through one of the hardest times of her life, she's seen the best humanity has to offer.

"That's what makes this country great is when something like this does happen it doesn't matter if you're my friend, you're my coworker, you're my neighbor, or you're a stranger. They're reaching out. What do you need? What can I do for you? It's amazing," said Patterson.

Patterson says she did have flood insurance to help her with those repairs, but her deductible was 10 thousand dollars.

She was able to take advantage of a disaster loan to help pay that off.

Meanwhile, Gospel Light is continuing to offer support to other victims of flooding, and are collecting coats for the winter.

If you would like to donate, you can call at (540) 962-3488 or stop by the church.

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