Craig and his family have lived in Kentucky on the edge of Clear Creek for many years, and they were just months away from paying off their home. On the night of July 27th the family was in their home playing cards with their daughter, their son, and his fiancé. They could hear the rain but they weren’t concerned because water never made it to their house before. Over the next few hours, as it continued to rain, they realized the water was rising. Before long it was just outside the house. They quickly got their vehicles to higher ground and came back to the house to get some other important papers and items. In just that short time the water had risen so quickly they could not get out again. The neighbor from up the hill offered to help them and ran to get a rope trying to get everyone to safety. When he returned with the rope, he couldn’t get it to them because the water had risen to a point that it was not possible.
What happened next was horrific. The home was lifted off its foundation and taken down the creek with all five people in it. They floated down the creek inside the house until it a hit bridge and shattered. The family was scattered and landed in areas along the creek - except for one. Craig was still in a piece of the home, and he traveled another 500 yards down the creek. He doesn’t remember how, but he ended up in a tree with his calf caught in the crook.
The other family members found the edges of the creek and were then rescued by helicopter. They escaped with minor injuries - physically. While Craig was in the tree, water rushed past him tearing off his clothes. He told me that he was crying out loud, “Just shoot me! Just shoot me!” because he was in so much pain and suffering from hypothermia. He was finally rescued but his family members didn’t know if he had survived.
Craig’s wife was frantically searching and asking if anyone had seen her husband. She gave a description but couldn't recollect what he was wearing. Thankfully, her description allowed them to be reunited. They lost their home and a beloved pet, but they were alive. Unfortunately, all that happened to this family continues to shape their lives; they are working through the trauma they experienced day by day. They have purchased a used singlewide trailer and are working to fix it up to live in. Each day is a reminder, and the rainy days are the worst.
Please pray for Craig and his family as they continue to tell their stories and process the terrifying events of that July night. Pray for our teams, staff and church partners to show the love of Christ as we come alongside them in this journey. Your church can be help us respond to families like this one by sending a team to serve in Eastern Kentucky. Check out the response or email us for more information on how to send a team.
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