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Mayor guides White Sulphur through flood recovery despite personal tragedy

Mayor Haynes lost his wife just two days after devastating floods hit his city.


WHITE SULPHUR SPRINGS, WV – The June 2016 flood was both devastating and deadly for White Sulphur Springs. During a disaster like that, a mayor has to navigate how to lead a city through recovery.

And sometimes in times of crisis, a mayor can move from being a public official to being a source of hope in a time that seems hopeless.

This is true for White Sulphur Springs Mayor Lloyd Haynes.

Lloyd Haynes has a lot of love for White Sulphur Springs. He's spent more than 50 years calling the city home and he's spent four years as mayor.

But never in his wildest dreams or nightmares, did Haynes imagine the deadly destruction that would hit his city.

"I can't even explain how devastating it was. There's no way that I could have possibly prepared myself or anyone else for that kind of devastation," said Haynes. 

But the hits for Mayor Haynes kept coming.

"Two days after the flood, on June 25, my wife passed away and that was devastating to me," said Haynes. 

A man forced to lead his city through recovery all the while processing the magnitude of his own loss.

"My wife and I had been married for 54 years so losing her as my lifetime partner, that was difficult. And it actually still is," said Haynes. 

Today, Haynes' time as mayor is coming to an end. The signs of his city's progress can be found in Hope Village and the multiple memorials off main street. Today, Haynes is hopeful that White Sulphur Springs will continue to recover. And the mayor-elect shares that hope.

"This probably is a good opportunity for the citizens of White Sulphur to see the city on the rise. And it's going to happen," said Bruce Bowling. 

High hopes for a city built to survive.

Haynes says after he leaves office on July 1, he plans to travel and spend some time with his kids and their families. But he says White Sulphur will always be home.