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On most days, Elkhorn Creek is a narrow stream that flows placidly through southern West Virginia of McDowell and Mercer counties. But on July 8 2002, after a flash flood dumped six inches of rain on the area in a couple of hours, the creek became a monster. One of the region’s worst floods ever killed six people, displaced thousands and caused $150 million worth of damage. But in the town of Kimball (pop. 550), brothers Carl and Teddy Hazzard and their friend Josh Andrigo fought the Elkhorn for more than a dozen lives - and won ....


Among them was James Crowder, 64, who had lost one leg to diabetes and was battling cancer. In Crowder’s almost submerged kitchen, his sister Margaret Griffith, 61, placed him on the sink to keep his head above water. They had been there for hours when the trio arrived. Says Debbie Blanchard, 41, whose husband is pastor at the Methodist church where the Crowders were later taken: If they had been 30 minutes longer in that water, they wouldn’t have made it ....


Thanks largely to the three men, no one in Kimball drowned that day.


- A man cannot drown so long as his head is above water

- If you are just managing to survive, you are keeping your head above water.