HOMETOWN HERO: Jerry Whitney

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SCOTTSVILLE, Ky. (WBKO) -- Temperatures reached lows we hadn't seen in nearly three years in the beginning of January, and with some people in our community having no place to go for warmth, one Scottsville man opened his doors to provide a place to stay. For that, we honor Jerry Whitney as this week's Hughes and Coleman Hometown Hero.

Jerry Whitney wanted to make sure that he did all he could to let everyone in Scottsville know they had a place to stay that would be warm and provided with food. He opened up his auction house behind his home and decided to let people in.

"You've got people here that, with the temperatures like they were, they could've froze to death," says Whitney.

He says he got the idea the night of New Years Eve, looking outside at a building he knew could hold people in the cold.

"We decided to put food out here and get all of our heaters cranked up. I told them, I said we won't have any mattresses or places to really sleep but you'll have a warm place to stay and food in your belly," he adds.

But quickly, several church groups and other organizations stopped by, providing more food and bedding.

"They're the true heroes. The couple who was just in here, that's your true heroes right there," Whitney says, referring to a man and woman who had come by bringing blankets and dinner.

But those close to Whitney say he's a hero, too.

"He's always gone above and beyond for people. It doesn't matter what it is. If you need it, he'll come up with it. He'd give his last dollar to somebody," says Brandon Norris, who works with Whitney.

Whitney says part of what makes him want to open his doors is knowing what it's like to be in a situation similar to theirs.

"There was eight of us kids staying in a one bedroom house. And I can remember we had three beds. Sort of like it is here, we had three beds in one bedroom," then, going on to say, "A lot of people out there, they've never had to choose. Do I pay my light bill? Do I pay my car payment? Or do I get my kids some clothes and food? They've never had to make that decision, and I've had to make that decision before."

Now with blankets on the floor and food on the tables, Whitney says as of a few just days into the new year, three people were staying in the aution house, and he expected several more.

"We've actually had people from Bowling Green and Alvaton calling, trying to make their way here."

"When I first thought of this you know your body says, man you've got so many other things going on, so many irons in the fire. Your body says no, no, no, but then your heart says, yeah this needs to be done," he says.

Whitney tells 13 News, "Somebody said, 'well man you're leaving your business open all night long, you know people could steal stuff.' It don't matter. I just don't want nobody freezing."

He says anyone who needs a place to stay, is welcome to stop by.

"People feel like they have to explain themselves, and I don't care what brought them to a spot of being homeless. I just don't want them being homeless, and I just don't want them being cold."

For opening up the space that he could. Making sure everyone he was able of taking care of had a place to stay, we honor Jerry Whitney as this week's Hughes and Coleman Hometown Hero.

He says he's hoping to be able to start something more permanent to help the homeless in Allen County. His auction house is located at 512 East Walnut Street in Scottsville.

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