BUCHANAN COUNTY, Va. (WJHL) – 91-year-old Gay Maxwell loves reading on her porch swing, so it only seems fitting that’s what rescuers found her doing when they finally reached her home the morning after the flood Tuesday night.
“Well, I guess they thought I’d gone crazy,” Maxwell chuckles.
Maxwell was alone that night, with all of her family on vacation. The river sits just at the end of her yard, and a neighbor alerted her to the rising waters.
“My neighbor came round 9:30 or 10 and hollered at me,” Maxwell said.
She said that’s when she decided to move one of her two cars to higher ground, but when she returned for the second, she couldn’t get back out of her house.
“So that night I just went on to bed,” Maxwell said. “I prayed that God wouldn’t let the rain, the water, come up to my bed, and I said but if you do, if it’s your will, I will just stand up and hold onto my bed post.”
Maryland resident Rusty Maxwell said he immediately started trying to get in touch with his grandmother when he started getting weather alerts on his phone.
“Scared to death,” Rusty Maxwell said. “She’s the matriarch of our family, so if anything happened to her we’d all be devastated, you know she holds us all together. She always has.”
Gay Maxwell’s family felt worried when no one could reach her, but she told News Channel 11 she was never worried that night.
“I want people to know that that woman’s faith is so strong that she went and laid down back in the bed and if Jesus was going to take her then it was her time to go,” Rusty Maxwell said. “If you don’t believe that then I don’t know what else to say about her.”
Now that the water’s receded, most of her possessions are destroyed, but the house’s foundation and Maxwell’s faith is still strong.
“Just start over,” Gay Maxwell said as she sat on her old porch swing, watching her family clean out what’s left from the flood.
“My whole life this is where every memory I ever had was,” Rusty Maxwell said. “You know 44 years of Christmases, holidays, Thanksgivings. So we got here as fast as we could, and we’ll do whatever it takes to get her back in it.”