Our Hope Force leadership and Reservists at our base of operations in Hazard, Kentucky are busy with assessments and the work of mucking out homes. The unique and heartbreaking nature of this siutation is that it still continues to rain -- and the survivors are further terrorized by the constant threat of more flooding. The damage is so widespread across several counties, towns and little communities that it is overwhelming to know where to start. These towns and counties are in the Appalachian region -- an area long familliar with economic hardship. So many bridges and roads are out, hundreds have been impacted and the living conditions of many were deeply challenging long before the devastating floods.
Veteran Hope Force Reservists and part of our inital "tip of the arrow" team members, Steve and Deb LaForge, shared: "Today we spent time with Ms. Emma. A sweet 86-year old who was born in the house. A lot of the work has already been done to clear out the house and take out carpeting -- but to finish it, you need to remove the wall paneling and wet insulation, take up floors down to the subfloor, remove kitchen and bathroom cabinets...just to name a few things. She also has at least 4 inches of mud in her basement that has to be shoveled out. The car was under water and the inside is covered in mud also. Some jobs are hard physically -- but imagine being in that situation at 86 years old, with very limited funds and no idea how you can rebuild your home. No disaster is easy, and I can tell you that the emotions of the people we have the privilege to serve is especially overwhelming."
Our Reservists continue to arrive daily from across the country as we move forward on the long work of mucking out the homes of these amazing, resiliant Appalachian people who have lost so much. As of this morning, the death toll contineus to climb, and so does the threat of more flooding. This will be a long road to recovery.
As terrible as the destruction is, we are still hearing stories of joy and hope from the homeowners we have encountered.
Hope Force Reservist and Kentucky native, Weston Worthington, shared: "The breadth of the tragic flood in eastern Kentucky has already been well documented by others. And, quite frankly, the photos fail to capture the unimaginable magnitude of the loss experienced by our neighbors here. Today, Joey & I ventured to Blackey, to Colson, to Isom, to Jeremiah, to Whitesburg and many places in between without even leaving Letcher Co. It was the same everywhere — it was different everywhere. Please join me tonight in praying for the people impacted by the flooding, for dry days ahead, for peace for those suffering and perseverance in the long recovery that awaits."
Please join us in prayer for the community, the survivors and the people on the ground working hard to make a difference. Also, would you consider giving toward our efforts as we continue to serve those who have experienced such great loss?
We are truly grateful for each and every one of you who have already given...and we could not do this work without you!
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