Kentuckians help along the gulf

By: Melissa Etezadi Email
By: Melissa Etezadi Email

LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - Evacuations, rescues and massive power outages, just some of the destruction Hurricane Isaac has left in its path. As the clean up process beings, Kentuckians are on standby in the gulf states ready to help.

Volunteers from the Red Cross as well as employees from RJ Corman are spread out between Alabama, Louisiana and Mississippi. "We have 64 people deployed to the region," explains Noel Rush with RJ Corman, "they have a dozen pieces of heavy equipment ready to assist in work clearing debris and addressing storm-related problems."

Those at the Kentucky Blood Center say they are on standby as well, ready to send blood to the state of Louisiana if needed. "Yesterday, we were contacted by the blood center of New Orleans asking us if needed would we be willing and able to send blood products into the region," explains CEO and President of Kentucky Blood Center, Bill Reed. "We immediately told them yes, we have an adequate supply of blood at this time and will help in any way that we can."

Lundy's Catering is doing the same thing. Owner Jerry Lundergan said he has a second business which primarily focuses on disaster relief. "We go in and build a complete turn key camp," explains Lundergan, "I sometimes describe it as building a little city. We do it for these extra utility men and women who are coming in from other states to assist in the relief efforts. We supply showers, food, a place to sleep, all the necessities to allow these people a place to stay while they help."

All three organizations played a huge role in the disaster relief efforts back in 2005 when Hurricane Katrina hit seven years ago today. "We've helped in Katrina, Joplin as well as right here in Morgan County. We've been doing this for the past 18 years, if we can help in any way we can," explains Lundergan.

Red Cross volunteers are also in Louisiana. We're told currently there are 5,200 people staying in 80 Red Cross shelters around the Gulf Coast. At this time, 2,700 trained Red Cross disaster workers from all over the United States are in the Gulf region to help.

Currently the American Red Cross has 311,000 ready-to-eat meals and several kitchen support trailers in the area. The Red Cross already has trailers of relief supplies pre-positioned in the area and has sent thousands of additional supplies like clean up and personal hygiene items, cots, blankets, coolers, shovels, rakes, tarps, gloves and masks.

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