Sherry Stacy

Interviewed by: Haley Posey
Date of Interview: November 14, 2014
Interview Location: Sherry Stacy's home

Haley Posey reports:

"I will be interviewing my grandmother, Sherry Stacy; she was born December 1, 1949. I will be interviewing her about the flood that occurred in Grundy, VA on April 5, 1977. This flood one was of the worst floods that affected the lives of many people in Buchanan County. I will also be interviewing my grandmother about the Appalachian School of Law shooting that occurred in 2002. The shooter was a Nigeria man and his children went to the school my grandmother worked at. The reason I am interviewing my grandmother on these events is because she was affected by both of them. I plan to find out exactly how she was affected and what precautions she took to stay safe."

Question: How old were you when the flood occurred? Where did you live at the time of the flood?

Stacy: Dear Lord I don’t remember how old I was. Let me think. I believe I was 28. I lived up a holler in Moth Branch, Virginia.

Question: How many days did it rain and how hard did it rain?

Stacy: I’d say probably 3 days. It rained really hard and seemed like it would never stop.

Question: How far away were you from the flood? Did the flood affect your home and your surroundings? If so, how?

Stacy: There was a creek in front of my house and it washed out the road. It didn’t affect my home, but it did everything else. The road was closed; no one could come in or out.

Question: How did the flood affect your life at the time? How did the flood affect the county?

Stacy: Well I don’t think we had power and we couldn’t travel the road because it was washed out so we had to go up the mountain and go down the other side just to be able to get out. Well it damaged a lot of stores and businesses had to be shut down for awhile because they flooded and people couldn’t work. A lot of roads were damaged and people couldn’t leave there home and travel very far.

Question: Did you have any family that lived in the flood zone? How did it affect them?

Stacy: Renda’s husband Steve had to hitch hiked from Big Rock up here because he couldn’t get his car. He walked most of the way and your papaw had to get the jeep and try to go up the other side to get some milk and stuff that we needed.

Question: Did you have any favorite places that got damaged in the flood? If so, what?

Stacy: Yeah my road. Ha-ha. It got washed out and I couldn’t leave.

Question: Did any businesses that were damaged reopen? If not, which ones didn’t?

Stacy: I think all the businesses that were damaged reopened. I can’t think of any that didn’t.

Question: Did the flood affect the economy? If so, how?

Stacy: Yes, because the stores had to close down and people couldn’t work and they couldn’t sell anything.

Question: How long did it take for things to get back to normal and what things had to be done?

Stacy: Maybe 2 to 3 weeks. Roads had to be worked; stores had to be cleaned out and stores had to be restocked.

Question: Did you have kids at the time? How were they affected by the flood?

Stacy: Yeah I had 2 children. One was 11 and one was 9. They couldn’t go to school so they were stuck inside for a couple of weeks.

Question: Do you remember the impact it had on public schools and how?

Stacy: They had to be closed. I remember the water getting in the Vansant School.

Question: Did it rain at night or during the day? Did the kids get out of school early?

Stacy: It rained at night and they didn’t have school the next day.

Question: How did the flood affect transportation? What types of transportation was affected?

Stacy: We couldn’t ride cars. To go anywhere we had to have 4wd. We had a CJ5 jeep.

Question: Has there been a flood since the flood of 77 that has impacted the residents like this flood did?

Stacy: No, not that I was around for. [laughs]

Question: Are the residents of Buchanan County more prepared now than they were back then? If so, how?

Stacy: Mhm. Yeah.

Question: Has the county done anything to try to prevent future flooding? If so, what?

Stacy: Uh, they built flood walls. People who built their houses in flood zones had to build them up real high. Any house that was already in the flood zone the county made them raise their house up.

Question: How has the town changed since the 1977 flood?

Stacy: They tore down all the stores and put in Wal-Mart. They built a big bridge going from the road over to that Wal-Mart. They are putting in that big road.

Question: Did anyone lose their life due to the flood? Was that mainly adults, children, or both?

Stacy: I think a couple of people, but I am not sure. Seemed like there was a man, but I’m not sure about the other.

Question: Do you remember the day of the Appalachian School of Law shooting?

Stacy: Quite well.

Question: What were you doing when you heard that there had been a shooting?

Stacy: I was working at Mount Mission School and someone came and got me and they wouldn’t tell us what was going on. They put us on lock down.

Question: Do you know anyone that was affected by the shooting?

Stacy: Yeah, the Backwells and the Odighizuwas. Both of their kids went to Mountain Mission and were in classes with my grandkids.

Question: I know you were working at Mountain Mission School at the time of the shooting, how did you feel being that close to the shooting?

Stacy: I was frightened.

Question: What was the initial rumor going around Mountain Mission? What did Mountain Mission do when they heard what had taken place?

Stacy: Well with all the children being foreign kids I thought it might have been an attack on the school. They put us on lock down and wouldn’t tell us what was going on.

Question: Did Mountain Mission School add any extra safety precautions to the school after the shooting?

Stacy: Yeah, things had to be under lock and key. Especially with the toddlers, you couldn’t get in until you were identified.

Question: How did the shooting affect the county?

Stacy: Several people lost their lives and it was really hard on families. A lot of people were hurt by this. The shooter’s children were in my grandson’s class.

Question: How did you feel when you found out who the shooter was?

Stacy: It was hard to believe. Cause I sat down beside that man and talked to him a lot.

Question: How many students attend the law school now compared to then? Were there many students who dropped out?

Stacy: Yeah they are more now and no I don’t think there were many students who dropped out.

Question: The shooter was arrested and convicted; do you know what happened to him and his family?

Stacy: He was sent to prison and then his family left. I don’t know where they went to. They left here.

Question: What has the county done to make it a safer place for the residents? Do you now feel safe living in Buchanan County?

Stacy: I guess, safe as to be expected. We have the 911 thing and we didn’t use to have that.

Question: Was this the first big shooting that has occurred in Buchanan County?

Stacy: That I can remember. He killed 3 people. Angela Dales, the Blackwell man, and another man, he was a professor.

Question: Have there been any other major shootings in this county since the shooting at the law school?

Stacy: Yeah, when those 2 cops out killed and 2 more got hurt when the man killed them up Deskins.