Morgan Co. teen uses experience to teach disaster readiness

By: Tim Johnston Email
By: Tim Johnston Email

MORGAN COUNTY, Ky. (WKYT) - Grey skies hang over Morgan County and while there is no threat in the clouds, now, they'll never forget that March day in 2012 when their town was turned upside down.

"It changed my life forever, and it'll change West Liberty forever," described Morgan County High School Junior, Courtney Rowland.

Rowland remembers huddling with her family in their basement, "Tornado warnings usually don't mean anything to people around here."

But that week changed all of that.

"They always say 'We live in the mountains, it will always spin out,' well it just takes is that one time for it not (to)," added Rowland.

Still, Rowland says that night she wished she was better prepared, so she's taking her life experience to teach other children how to be ready in case of a disaster.

"Hopefully I can help them."

Shortly after Rowland used that horrific week and turned it into an idea, one that she pitched to the 4H Kentucky State Teen Council.

"Part of applying is writing a big service project for the whole group to do. It was instantly disaster preparedness, there is no other option," she explained.

In her disaster kit, the teen recommends the basics such as, canned food, water, matches and candles, a flashlight, a radio, but then takes it one step further.

"You need to have playing cards and coloring books," she said, thinking of the children who went through the same disaster.

After pitching it to the 4H State Teen Council, the project picked up as teens are teaching Rowland's course statewide, and even in other states.

"I know people in Calloway County that are doing it in theirs, so it's completely opposite edges of the state," said the teen, "it's actually really cool to think about!"

Rowland said her life was forever changed, and now she's hoping it changes lives and prepares others for the next disaster.

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