BUCKHANNON – Buckhannon residents say they reside in the area for its beauty, community spirit and the willingness of neighbors to help neighbors, no matter how many miles separate the towns. That’s why residents of Buckhannon will band together to help neighbors in need following flooding in Kentucky.
During Tuesday’s Buckhannon City Council meeting, Buckhannon Fire Department Capt. Brian Elmore said on Monday, a couple from Kentucky came into the Buckhannon Fire House and asked if they could somehow help those affected by the recent flooding in Kentucky.
“I contacted the chief of the Belfry, Kentucky Fire Department, which is the department that bought our old aerial truck a few years ago, and he gave us an itemized list of things folks in the area truly need,” Elmore told Buckhannon City Council at its Aug. 2 meeting. “With council’s permission, we would like to use bay 6 (of the Buckhannon Fire Department) as a staging area where people can bring stuff in to donate to those in need in Kentucky.”
Elmore said they are planning to make several trips on Sundays to take the donated items down to the Belfry Fire Department.
“The folks in Belfry were not hit as hard as folks to the west of them,” Elmore said. “Those up to the west were totally devastated. The chief told me it was damage like he has never seen before. He said some people up there will be without water for months.”
Councilman Dave Thomas asked Elmore specifically what items they are looking for and Elmore said they are looking for items such as baby food, baby wipes, baby formula and diapers.
“Also, they are asking for bandages, hydrogen peroxide, rubbing alcohol, hand sanitizer, gloves, trash bags, brooms, mops, paper towels, shovels, rakes, squeegees and anything related to personal hygiene,” Elmore said. “They also are in need of fans, extension cords and cleaning supplies.”
Elmore said the Buckhannon Fire Department will accept any of these types of items for the next two weeks.
Buckhannon mayor Robbie Skinner said the Buckhannon community has always been receptive to helping others in need.
“Our community has been very philanthropic before with tragedy,” Skinner said. “We led a drive back in 2016 for our neighbors in Southern West Virginia with the flooding that took place there as well as the victims of Western Kentucky back around Christmas. We feel very bad for the citizens of Kentucky. The photos are terrible and I imagine it is magnified ten times from what is in the pictures.”
Elmore said Buckhannon Fire Chief JB Kimble was asking for the blessing of the Buckhannon City Council to use Bay 6 as a staging area to accept donations.
Those wishing to drop off donations to help those affected by the flooding in Kentucky may do so at the Buckhannon Fire Department located at 22 S. Florida St. in Buckhannon.
According to the National Weather Service, the flooding in Eastern Kentucky began on July 26. It reported that several thunderstorms caused heavy rains, deadly flash flooding and devastating river flooding to Eastern Kentucky and central Appalachia and at times, resulted in rainfall rates in excess of 4 inches per hour.
The report from NWS said the rain caused widespread catastrophic damage and said entire homes and parts of some communities were swept away by flood waters. The report said during the four days of rainfall, eastern Kentucky received more than 600 percent of normal rainfall.