Hopkins Co. Judge-Executive lends hand in flood recovery efforts in E. Ky.
KNOTT CO., Ky. (WFIE) - People from all over have been volunteering in eastern Kentucky to help after last week’s deadly flooding.
Hopkins County Judge-Executive Jack Whitfield remembers facing a similar wake of devastation following last December’s tornadoes. He knows the feeling of confusion and loss, but also of hope and recovery.
“Unfortunately we have experience in that,” Whitfield said. “So being able to help out there and begin to make plans for recovery has been rewarding but, we’re here because I want to help.”
He brought his efforts to Knott County, which as of right now, has the most deaths resulting from the floods.
“Material things can be replaced, but folks have lost lives and family members,” Knott County Judge-Executive Jeff Dobson said. “It’s complete devastation I don’t know where to start to begin.”
So far, 37 people are dead as a result of the flooding, including 17 lives claimed in Knott County alone.
“You see the damage, destruction and need, and it’s heart-wrenching,” Whitfield said.
When the Dec. 10 storms hit western Kentucky, eastern Kentuckians answered the call for help. Now, it’s the other way around.
“I think it goes to show just the love, care and support that we have for each other across the state,” Whitfield said.
The day after the flooding ravaged Knott County, Dobson didn’t know where to begin. He says Whitfield’s disaster experience has helped immensely.
“You start looking around, just like Jack Whitfield here, been here for three days with me and assisted me, he’s been through this,” Dobson said.
Whitfield has only been there for a couple of days, but has noticed the striking similarities between eastern and western Kentucky.
“Just like at home, very tough people,” Whitfield said. “Resilient, but also in need right now.”
No matter what, Whitfield says, Kentuckians will band together.
“Whether it’s eastern Kentucky, western Kentucky, golden triangle; Kentuckians take care of each other,” Whitfield said.
The same way that both Union and Webster County judge executives came to his aid the day after the Dec. 10 storms, he wanted to return that favor to the people of eastern Kentucky.
“I would’ve lost my mind without them I think,” Whitfield said. “So I know kind of how those first couple of days are, and just felt the need to return some of the help and assistance that we received.”
“We’re forever grateful to these folks,” Dobson said.
For information on how to donate to the eastern Kentucky flood relief, click here to visit the state’s website.
Copyright 2022 WFIE. All rights reserved.