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Remembering Hurricane Camille In The Rockfish Valley 4 Decades Later : 8.19.09

[ 4 ] August 19, 2009 |
Photos By Paul Purpura : ©2009 www.nelsoncountylife.com : People gather Wednesday morning at The Rockfish Valley Trail Head to remember those who died in 1969's Hurricane Camille.

Photos By Paul Purpura : ©2009 www.nelsoncountylife.com : People gather Wednesday morning at The Rockfish Valley Trail Head to remember those who died in 1969's Hurricane Camille.

Near Nellysford
Nelson County, Virginia

It was a reflective Wednesday morning as people gathered at the Rockfish Valley Trail Head just south of Nellysford. They were there to remember the catastrophic day back in 1969 when Hurricane Camille landed right on top of Nelson County, Virginia.

Dr. Bob Raynor (center) flanked by his wife Shirley to the right and Milly Colella, left, listen at Wednesday's ceremony. Dr. Raynor was one of the main Nelson doctors responding to Hurricane Camille in 1969.

Dr. Bob Raynor (center) flanked by his wife Shirley to the right and Milly Colella, left, listen at Wednesday's ceremony. Dr. Raynor was one of the main Nelson doctors responding to Hurricane Camille in 1969.

The program included stories of the August 1969 tragedy in the Rockfish Valley through the eyes of those on the scene during search and recovery.

Folks look over photos from 1969. The also viewed a scrap book kept by John Phillips who was VDOT resident engineer.

Folks look over photos from 1969. The also viewed a scrap book kept by John Phillips who was VDOT resident engineer.

The Nelson County Museum of History, will also hold a Remembrance of Camille on Thursday, Aug. 20 at 7 p.m. at Nelson County High School. A slide show of rarely seen photos of Camille will begin the Remembrance, followed by the Fortune Family Singers, a reading by the Rev. John Gordon of the names of those lost, stories of survival by Curtis Matthews and Colleen Stevens Thompson, remarks by Cliff Wood on how individuals responded, and music by Pat Ritchie. A social hour will follow with education exhibits and refreshments. The event is free and open to the public.

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Comments (4)

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  1. Only In Nelson County and at Nelson County Life could an event occur at 10 AM and a story with photos appear for all to see within hours. Thanks.

    The program at the Rockfish was an appropriate remembrance for our community. It could have occurred in any one of a dozen communities in Nelson where the devestation and loss of life were concentrated in August 1969. Thanks to Doctor Bob Raynor and to Ollie Hughes and representatives of Madison House at UVA who told their stories and to the people who came out . We received a gift to the Camille Resource Center of photos from Peggy Fitzgerald Ballowe and a CD with 74 photos taken by Harold Wright who was with the Highway Dept in 1969. Thanks Pegg and Harold.

    The event at the Nelson County High School tomorrow evening will be remembered for decades to come. A card will be given to every attendee to record those present – sort of like a guest book. The Oakland Museum and the Camille Steering Committee look forward to seeing many of you there. There has been a lot of hard work put into the program and we know you will enjoy it. Thanks in advance to all who are participating. And thanks to Nelson County Life for recording life in Nelson ….

    Peter Agelasto

  2. Renita says:

    When I was 13 years old 40 years ago, i do remember the flood from Camille. I remember the bodies, houses live stock, people sitting on top of there homes floating down James River near Wingina, VA. I did not seem real, but i remembered it very clear

  3. Cindy K says:

    In 1969, I was 9 years old. My dad was a deputy sheriff here in the county. I remember him leaving home when he got a phone call about all the flooding and then not coming home for a week because he was helping with the rescues and recoveries. To this day, I can remember the smell that permeated the county-it was the smell of tons of soil that was moved down the mountains & through the hollows by the flood waters.

  4. Milly Colella says:

    Peter, thanks for organizing this program. You are a great asset to our community, and I enjoyed the presentations very much. Milly Colella

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