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Lee Co. leaders looking for volunteers to help flood victims as area awaits federal funding

Published: Apr. 7, 2021 at 9:57 PM EDT
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BEATTYVILLE, Ky. (WKYT) - While funding from a federal disaster declaration would be the help many Kentucky communities need to rebuild, it could be a while before any of them see that money, when they need immediate help.

For six weeks, every day has been about getting Beattyville back on its feet.

“The flood came and washed everything out and now we’re just putting it back together,” flood victim Helen Donathan said.

Donathan is one of the many people who lost their home in early March as water from the Kentucky River flooded the community. Since then, she and nearly 30 other families have been staying in a motel until their homes are repaired.

“It’s hard because I’ve got three children and seven grandchildren,” Donathan said. “We lost three houses in the flood. So we’re sort of trading off children to keep them from getting down.”

During all of this, she’s been able to remain upbeat. She’s looking at the glass half full after losing almost everything.

“I don’t cling onto items. If I lose something, I lose it... I can always get stuff back, but I can’t get my family back.” Donathan said.

And it’s volunteers like Tara Caldwell who have made the hardships easier. But Caldwell says the need is still great, and more volunteers are needed until families are back in their homes.

“The community has come together in a lot of ways, but there’s a lot of things that we still need,” Caldwell said.

From building materials, to people to put those materials together. Also helping families with basic needs, like laundry.

“Between me, the county judge, and the emergency management director, and a few other churches and groups that we have here, everybody is working as hard as they can to get things done quickly, it’s just sometimes we don’t have the means to get them done quickly,” Caldwell said.

They’re trying to check off as many items as possible on a still-growing list, and hoping others can chip in to help.

If you would like to help with rebuilding or help a family with their laundry, you can message the Lee County Government Facebook page.

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