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Flood victim remembered one year after 2016 floods

Joni Adams and her good friend, Sandy Boswell, died in the June 2016 floods. They were trying to salvage items out of Adams' basement in Elkview, floodwater rose too fast to escape. Those who loved them, still honoring their lives one year later.

Joni Adams, a retired South Charleston Middle School teacher and avid runner lost her life the day of the floods, June 23, 2016.

Her loved ones said they will never forget when they heard the news.

"Devastated, devastated, not just for me but for anyone that ever knew her,” Adams’ good friend, Corlyn Debord said.

Adams ran the Charleston Distance Run for Decades. She loved teaching and helping the community.

She's been honored in many ways including a 5K race called "Miles for Joni," a memorial walk at the middle school and a walking trail was dedicated to her at the Kanawha Charleston Humane Association.

Adams' good friend, Sandy Boswell, died alongside her that day. They were in Adams' basement in Elkview trying to save some belongings as floodwaters rose too fast to escape.

Debord worked with Adams at the middle school and was supposed to have lunch with her the day of the floods, but she never showed up.

Debord said Adams was passionate about everything she did and hopes the memory of her will never fade.

"I would hope that we would continue talking about her and making people aware of what a wonderful person she was, and just continuing to do things that she would have done. I try in my classroom to think of things that she would have done, things that would make her proud,” Debord said.

Debord said South Charleston Middle School will continue to hold the memorial walk in honor of Adams every spring.

Adams was one of the 23 people who were killed in the flood statewide.


Here are all of those who lost their lives in the flood:

Emanuel Javon Williams, 8, Ohio County

Billy Eugene Sanders Sr., 62, Kanawha County

Natasha Danielle LeMaster, 20, Kanawha County

Melissa “Lesa” Renee Hess, 46, Kanawha County

Eduardo Thomas McMillion, 4, Jackson County

Denver Leslie Barker, 93, Greenbrier County

I. Edward “Budgie” Thompson, 85, Greenbrier County

Gary Keith Shumaker, 82, Greenbrier County

Charles Omechinski II, 63, Greenbrier County

Okey Williams Moffatt Jr., 74, Kanawha County

Joni Melinda Adams, 60, Kanawha County

Sandra Lee Boswell, 57, Kanawha County

Nellie Virginia Hinkle, 80, Greenbrier County

Delmas Parsons, 70, Greenbrier County

Dakota Scott Stone, 16, Greenbrier County

Raymond Edward Clark Jr., 60, Greenbrier County

Melissa Dale Deichert, 60, Greenbrier County

Hershel Lee Nicely, 68, Greenbrier County

Marguerite Parsons, 67, Greenbrier County

Belinda Gail Scott, 54, Greenbrier County

Lisa Gaye Goins Blankenship, 44, Greenbrier County

Nataysha Nicely, 32, Greenbrier County

Mykala Cheyenne Phillips, 14, Greenbrier County

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