(CHARLESTON, W.Va.) — When historic flash floods and record rainfall devastated parts of West Virginia last month, two sisters, Elaine Hollandsworth and Susan Ayres, were left stranded and afraid.
“I really thought we were dead,” Ayres told ABC News. “We called our families and told them goodbye.”
During the worst of the flooding, the sisters spent 10 hours trapped on the second floor of their White Sulphur Springs home, praying for help.
The West Virginia National Guard and state police answered the sisters’ prayers, coming to their rescue at around 1:30 a.m. on June 24.
The sisters’ home was one of more than 1,200 homes though that was demolished in the state as a result of the floods.
With the devastation clear, Lowe’s, a Good Morning America sponsor, put out a call to help.
“We put a message out to employees in the area and so many of them reached out and said, ‘I just want to come help,’” said Emily Akino, Lowe’s West Virginia marketing director.
Lowe’s partner in helping West Virginia families rebuild was First Response Team of America, an organization that brings “new light to communities in their darkest hours,” according to its website.
“We’re emotionally there for these families in a time when the job in front of them seems really daunting,” said the organization’s founder, Tad Agoglia.
The dozens of volunteers who responded to West Virginia also helped families like Margie and Harvey Stidom, an elderly couple whose first floor of their home — also in White Sulphur Springs — flooded with four feet of water.
“It breaks our hearts,” Margie Stidom said of the damage.
The residents praised the volunteers, who said they are just there doing “the right thing.”
“It’s a lot of work but just to see the home owners that live here it just feels really good, the right thing,” said Joshua Bigos, a Lowe’s volunteer.
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