RAINELLE, WV – Gunner Ward, 10, is still haunted by the memories of the June 2016 flood that hit his hometown of Rainelle. A 10-year-old boy that saw more than anyone should.
"I think I woke up at like 6 or 7 and it just kept on pouring and pouring the rain. We got a little bit of a break but not much," said Gunner Ward.
When the water started rising, Gunner and his family went into survival mode, ending up on a hill across the neighborhood where they were protected from the rain but not from the visions of a house they loved being filled with floodwaters.
"It was just really scary and I didn't really like it and I cried a little bit," said Ward.
Through the eyes of a child, a deadly and devastating flood is hard to understand, an act of Mother Nature that is the stuff of nightmares.
"I really never thought that it would come because there was another flood before and I never thought it would hit my house, but it actually did," said Ward.
While one year has passed and the Ward house that was once flooded is clear and clean, the fear of more flooding won't go away.
"It's hard. I sometimes panic and when the creeks get high, I panic sometimes," said Ward.
But even at 10 years old, Gunner can recognize the miracle of his family's survival.
"We didn't have to get touched by water and we were all safe, and I was glad about that," said Ward.
A 10-year-old wise beyond his year, a 10-year-old that felt more fear than anyone ever should, a 10-year-old that conquered the flood with the help of his family.
"I just know that my parents would keep me really safe," said Ward.
While many flood survivors had to move to new homes, Gunner and his family were able to stay put.
Within the past year, they have redone the house from top to bottom, and Gunner says it almost feels like home again.