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Photo of boy devastated by West Virginia floods sparks outpouring of kindness

Nick Scott was on his way to help people affected by the West Virginia floods when he came across a chilling sight.
/ Source: TODAY

Nick Scott was on his way to a local church to help those affected by the flooding in West Virginia, when he encountered a heartbreaking sight.

While sitting in traffic with dozens of shampoo bottles, clothing and food in the backseat of his car, he spotted a young boy, Michael Swiney, standing in the mud watching his family members attempt to salvage cherished possessions from their Clendenin, West Virginia, home.

"Kids were throwing everything from couch cushions to silverware down to their dad, who was driving a bulldozer," Scott, 33, told TODAY. "It was a muddy mess."

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He took his phone out to capture the emotional moment and posted it Monday to Facebook, where it's now been shared almost 5,000 times. "God bless this child," he wrote in the caption.

Up until then, all the Swiney family had to their name were a couple pictures they were able to grab before escaping their home the night of June 23 when the water started to rise. Now, thanks to Scott's photo of Michael, they've been blown away by the kindness they've seen in strangers.

While some people have stopped by to shovel mud and remove debris from the home, others have donated money, food and even a do-it-yourself building with wooden panels. Someone even brought a cake for Michael, after seeing a comment mentioning it was the boy's seventh birthday.

Nick Scott met Michael Swiney, the young boy he photographed.Courtesy of Nick Scott

"We've been so grateful and humbled to know there are still good people out there willing to help," Kimberly Swiney, Michael's grandmother and owner of the house that was destroyed, told TODAY.

RELATED: West Virginia floods begin to recede after days of devastation

While Michael lives with his dad, Joseph Swiney, about two hours away in Bluestone State Park, he often stayed in Clendenin to spend time with his four cousins, who lived in the home with their grandmother.

Thankfully, Michael's home wasn't affected by the flooding, nor was Scott's, but his mom's house, located in nearby Elkview, was filled with water a little over chest high.

As for Scott, he's been busy helping his mom, as well as other affected families. "I never expected anything to come of the photo, let alone how many people saw it and wanted to help," he said, "but then again, we live in an area where we all help each other out no matter the circumstances."