Story by Destinee Marking, Staff Writer
The Longhorn State has been crippled by Hurricane Harvey with more than 50 inches of rain in some area, and volunteers from around the country are pouring into southeast Texas to help in the rescue and recovery efforts.
The American Red Cross made preparations in anticipation of the storm.
“The American Red cross had people and items staged north of the area they thought would be affected, so we’ve been on the ground since before the hurricane hit land,” Evelyn Miller, executive director of the American Red Cross of Western Kentucky said.
The Red Cross is providing food, shelter, medical attention and mental health assistance to those who were affected.
Several volunteers from western Kentucky headed to Texas last week to assist with the Red Cross’ efforts.
For those wanting to know how they can help the victims of Hurricane Harvey, Miller said anyone can text HARVEY to 90999 to donate $10.
If a monetary donation is not feasible, the relief organization is also in need of blood donations. Miller said blood products from different agencies across the country were moved to Texas in case there was a need. Therefore, the blood supply is critically low in other parts of the country, including in western Kentucky.
Ready in Red
Natural disasters can strike anywhere in the country and the American Red Cross urges people to be prepared.
Residents of western Kentucky are all too familiar with disasters such as
tornadoes, floods and ice storms.
Hurricane Harvey reminds those in the region that preparation is vital to any natural disaster.
The Purchase Area Board of the American Red Cross is hosting the Ready in Red Community Preparedness Fair in Paducah, Kentucky on Sept. 9 at the Holiday Inn Paducah Riverfront Hotel.
The event is from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and is free to the public.
“Ready in Red is an opportunity for residents to have one on one conversations with professionals so they can learn how to be prepared in case of emergencies and disasters,” Miller said.
Greg Forbes, severe weather expert and meteorologist for The Weather Channel, will give a presentation and attendees will have the opportunity to speak with him.
Free disaster preparedness kits will be handed out to the first 200 families. In addition, children will be able to participate in the Red Cross Pillowcase Project and learn more about the science behind natural disasters through Hooked on Science’s Jason Lindsey.
Manda Barger, Purchase Area Board of the American Red Cross board member, said she wants people to leave the event knowing how to better prepare their families for emergencies.
“Too often we face natural disasters, catastrophic events and dangerous accidents unprepared,” Barger said. “From our event, I hope families learn new ways to prepare while gaining useful tools to be safe.”
Barger says the local sponsors and partners have made the event possible including Baptist Health Paducah, First National Bank, Lourdes Hospital, Adam Ford State Farm, Midland Weather Radio, Paducah Bank, WPSD Local 6, Bristol Broadcasting, Paducah Walmart and LinGate Hospitality.
Many area service organizations will be on hand such as fire departments, police departments, emergency management and The National Weather Service.
Red Cross volunteer, Kathie Hunt, said she is excited to participate in Ready in Red to celebrate 100 years of the organization in western Kentucky.
“I am a big believer in emergency preparedness,” Hunt said.
Hurricane Harvey serves as a sobering reminder, Hunt said, of the potential for disasters to strike at anywhere, anytime.
“Hopefully something good that can come out of this, locally, is that we’ll have sort of reminded people how unpredictable the weather is and how we need to plan for it and all work together,” Hunt said.