A local disaster relief effort to benefit east coast victims of Superstorm Sandy was an overwhelming success, according to Kem Bell, advertising manager for Lake Country, WJRS 104.9 fm, and H.M. Bottom, the county’s emergency management director.
Early last week the radio station teamed up with Russell County Emergency Management, the Russell County Rescue Squad and the Lake Cumberland Community Action Agency for a drive to benefit victims of the massive storm.
Through Facebook, WJRS staff members received word from former Russell Countian Molly Bradshaw Adrian, a 1996 graduate of RCHS, and her husband Rick, who live in Wayne, New Jersey, that many necessities were still needed in that devastated area. The Adrians coordinated a drop-off location in nearby Moonachie, New Jersey if folks back in Russell County would respond to fellow Americans in need…and they did in resounding fashion.
“The response from the community was just unbelievable,” Bell said. “It was amazing all of the items that people brought in.”
For 12 hours a day, Tuesday through Friday, volunteers of the Russell County Rescue Squad opened up their building in Middletown next to WJRS to provide a drop-off location for donations.
The disaster relief effort resulted in more than $10,000 worth of basic necessity items and clothing being donated, according to Bell.
“We were especially surprised at the response we got,” said Bottom. “We didn’t have it over the weekend so to get as much as we did we were pleased.”
Bottom said he could always depend on the people of Russell County to come forward and help out those in need.
“You don’t ever have to wonder if they will help out because they always do,” he said. “I know the people up there were very happy to get it. We just don’t know how bad it is up there.”
On Saturday morning, WJRS staff members Joey Hoover, Sherri West and Bell made the more than 800 mile trip to Moonachie to deliver a truck load of donated items which included bottled water, baby formula and diapers, canned foods, personal hygiene items, toilet paper, paper towels, paper plates and cups, and various types and sizes of clothing and blankets and even pet food.
The crew reached their destination around 10 p.m. Saturday night and unloaded the truck, much to the delight of the Adrians and others at the drop-off location. The crew drove a LCCAA box truck that is often used for their weatherization purposes, to the location. The staging area was set up at a baseball field, Bell said.
“They had different tents set up around the field where certain items were placed,” he said.
Most of the electricity was back on in Moonachie but folks were still in need for necessity items and they were happy to get the truck load of items.
“It was packed, you couldn’t have gotten anything else in there,” Bell said. “It was amazing. I was glad to be a part of it and Joey did a good job of heading things up and the support of the community was outstanding.”
Bell said after witnessing how appreciative the folks in New Jersey were after receiving the items it made him reflect on just how fortunate we are here in Russell County.
“We’re really not thankful enough and there are just so many things that we take for granted,” Bell said.
“It was a long trip but it was worth it and I would do it again in a heartbeat.”
Residents throughout Russell County were literally a little shaken up on Saturday, November 10, as an earthquake was felt throughout much of Kentucky, and even upwards of northern Ohio and as far south as Alabama.
The 4.3 magnitude earthquake was centered eight miles west of Whitesburg, Kentucky, according to a report by the U.S. Geological Survey. Whitesburg is approximately 150 miles from Russell County, almost due east.
Russell County Emergency Manager H.M. Bottom said dispatch received numerous calls from Jabez to the lower sections of the county to report and inquire about the incident but that there was no damage reported in the area.
“I was thinking we might get some reports of cracks in foundations,” he said last Monday afternoon. “But as of right now we haven’t.”
Lee Roberts, Public Affairs Specialist with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Nashville District, said there was no damage noted with the Wolf Creek Dam.
“We did inspect the dams in Eastern Kentucky over the weekend and there was no damage to any of them,” Roberts said, noting that after the quake engineers inspected Martins Ford Dam, Laurel River Dam and Dale Hollow Dam along with the Wolf Creek Dam.
“We did a physical inspection, getting our experts out there to take a look at the dams and structures,” Roberts said.
While no damage was caused by the quake, it did confound many throughout the county.
Kim Taylor of Jamestown said she was on the computer when it felt like “someone was beating on the house.”
Rita Anderson Curry of Somerset assumed a family member had started up the power washer or blower.
“I could hear it before I felt it,” Curry said.
“My head felt like it was vibrating even after it ended and I had a slight headache all afternoon.”
No major damage was reported throughout the states affected by the quake, which was the second strongest quake in recorded history to hit inside the state of Kentucky, according to reports.
A 5.1 magnitude earthquake hit in Bath County in 1980.
There quickly arose speculation that hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking,” a new mining technique which uses pressurized fluid to cause and expand fractures within a rock layer in order to get to natural reservoirs of petroleum or natural gas, may be the culprit in the earthquake.
Geological scientists quelled that speculation, saying that the epicenter occurring 12 miles underground was too deep to have been affected by the new mining technique, according to Zhenming Wang, the head of the University of Kentucky Geologic Hazards Section.
Bottom says reports from surrounding counties were much the same as here, many felt it but no real damage occurred.
He reminds citizens that all incidences like this and the recent hurricane that has devastated the northeast is a reminder to stay attentive and make disaster preparations and precautions.
“This makes you pay attention and think,” said Bottom.
“Sometimes we take things a little lightly.”
Russell County’s Emergency Management Plan just received approval from Kentucky Emergency Management in the past few days.
Bottom said the major difficulties being faced by tens of thousands in the northeast after the hurricane, along with the earthquake, made him want to make sure people understand that in the case of a large scale disaster there may be an undetermined time lapse between the event and receiving aid.
He emphasized that each household should have their own emergency plan and preparations in case of disaster, knowing that outside help may not be immediately forthcoming or that resources may be stretched very thin if the disaster affected a large population.