From the blog of Clay Marsh, Vice President of Health Sciences and Executive Dean of the School of Medicine. For more blogs, visit http://vp.hsc.wvu.edu

Flooding has cost our state dearly recently.

At time of writing, 23 West Virginians have lost their lives and countless other lives will be irrevocably changed because of this natural disaster – a once in a thousand-year event, according to the National Weather Service.

Many people see the images on television or online and say that West Virginia doesn’t need any more challenges.

Matt Sunday/WVMetroNews.com. See more photos here.
Terry Cordial stands at her fence while discussing the damage sustained in her Rainelle, W.Va. home.

We would not have chosen this one. But there is a certainty that West Virginians are a resilient and resolute people.

Tragedies like this one test the fiber of people, of communities and of our state.

We are rising to this challenge together.

The water will recede. Lives will be rebuilt, and towns cleaned up. No matter how hard or difficult that seems right now.

The strength and goodness of our people will continue to shine through the darkness of this moment to light the way for the future.

For growth and gratitude happens in the most unusual places, under the most challenging circumstances.

For our people, for our state and for our future, I am personally grateful.

In the last week, we've seen communities across the state band together, coordinating efforts to seek donations and collect items of things we take for granted everyday. Basic necessities of food, clothing, cleaning supplies - all desperately needed to by those who've been hit the hardest.

In Morgantown, faculty, staff and students have held weekend-long and continue to hold donation drives with donations often overwhelming their vehicles. It is truly an incredible sight to see and a testament to the people of this good state and the people who come to live and learn here.

A challenge of this magnitude does not diminish our light, resolve or spirit of community.

We are still almost heaven.