New council to aid communities, like West Liberty, impacted by disaster

By: Morgan Lentes Email
By: Morgan Lentes Email

WEST LIBERTY, Ky (WYMT) - Communities across Kentucky now have a new group to help them prepare and react to natural disasters. On Wednesday, Governor Steve Beshear signed an executive order creating the Council for Community Recovery and Resiliency.

In tornado damaged Morgan County, officials tell WYMT anything that helps communities prepare for the worst is crucial.

West Liberty Mayor Mark Walter knows no one is safe from disaster. That is why he and folks like Jim Gazay, a construction manager and emergency preparedness official, want to be even more prepared as the town rebuilds.

"A disaster is chaos management. You can plan and you can plan and you can plan, but when it happens, you are going to have to react to what is happening out on the street," said Gazay.

West Liberty had emergency procedures in place before a deadly tornado leveled the town back in March of 2012. But Gazay, a military man, tells me that like in battle there is always room for improvement.

"Every operation we do, we sit down afterwards and we do a lesson learned. We take those lessons learned and apply that to future training. The same thing happened here," said Gazay.

According to the Governor's office, the CCRR can help in that process.

"You never know where the tornadoes going to touch down, where it is going to hit, where the floods going to come in and every one is going to be different," said Gazay.

Mayor Walter believes it is an agency designed to help towns get ahead of the game.

"Any community that needs help will have a council they can go to before or even after to help either prepare for a disaster or to respond after," said Walter.

Construction on the new Commercial Bank in downtown West Liberty is just one of many projects in the works. That building should be completed by next August.

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