This morning I spoke at length with Bobbi Jo Lewis, Kentucky Commissioner of Rural and Municipal Aid.
Commissioner Lewis was on the ground all day Sunday with Transportation Secretary Jim Gray, Deputy Secretary Mike Hancock, Chief of Staff Jamie Emmons and other Executive Leadership of KYTC in Mayfield, Bowling Green, and Dawson Springs.
While the pictures and video we have all seen is shocking and heartbreaking, it is so much worse in person and the pictures just don’t convey the whole story. The Main Street in Mayfield (Graves County) has been obliterated. Many residences and businesses were destroyed in Bowling Green (Warren County). Dawson Springs (Hopkins County), like the other counties, has an astounding number of homes lost, families displaced, loved ones lost and loved ones still missing. And, according to KYTC Personnel, Bremen (Muhlenberg County) was also devastated with countless families displaced and, virtually, the only sustainable building left – their elementary school. There are many other communities in Western Kentucky and communities reaching up to the western limits of Central Kentucky that sustained damage as well and are in need. I have to give a big shout out to all the officials, KYTC personnel, and all first responders for their quick action in the recovery efforts. You are so appreciated and we all know there is a long road ahead and so much to do.
Viewing the devastation throughout Western Kentucky was certainly an eye-opening and heart-wrenching experience. So many have lost their lives….lost their homes…lost everything. There is destruction at every turn. There is no infrastructure such as electric, water and sewer as they were all damaged in the tornado. This means no lights, no heat in the cold, no functioning sewer, and no water to drink, bathe, or flush. Most significantly, there is nowhere for the people to go for housing other than temporary housing or shelters. People need basic necessities and a place to live.
If you are looking for a way to help these communities – and we are ALL desperate to help – there are a number of things you can do and here are some options:
1) Make a financial donation to a reputable source like the Western Kentucky Tornado Relief Fund. TeamWKYReliefFund.ky.gov (No administrative fees are involved and all donations are tax deductible).
2) Donate blood. (This Friday, December 17th at the Kentucky State Capitol and at Memorial Baptist Church in Frankfort)
3) Donate toys for the children for Christmas. FirstLady.ky.gov/ToyDrive