Facebook finds help for tornado victims

By Tim Johnston | 

It's been roughly two weeks since a tornado ripped through Laurel County. The damage was nearly too much for some to handle, and most of the victims lost everything, which is why Larry Parrott, a local businessman, felt like he needed to get involved.

He took a unique but highly effective way of helping: Facebook.

"They would tell us what they need, we would put it on Facebook and an hour later we would have everything we needed," described Parrott.

Parrott and a friend decided it'd be easier to form a group to relay needs. They called the group "Laurel County Tornado Relief" and the group's size took off.

"We started with 200 members," said Parrott, "as of just a few minutes ago it was 3,680 members."

This Laurel County man eventually saw past the initial needs and began working for the future. Parrott knew people would need furniture.

What he didn't see was how large of a response he was about to get.

"It was well beyond what I could've imagined," he admitted.

Many people, like Shannon Melton, found avenues to help by seeing the Facebook posts.

"Friday night [following the tornado] I was watching the new, wringing my hands wondering what could I do to help," recalled Melton.

After quickly filling a storage unit with the donated furniture, the group had to aim higher. They rented out two airplane hangars at the London-Corbin Airport.

"We started this thing [hangar] six days ago," pointed out Parrott, "now it's probably a little over half full."

Already, this team has enough furniture to fill one victim's home. Parrott says the woman lost everything she had, and is blessed by the team's donations. The group hopes to help her move into her new home and set up in the coming weeks.

Parrott says this won't be the only victim they help, either.

"The goal would be to collect as much furniture as we could get to furnish everyone's home," stated Parrott.

The group, with Melton's help, is also looking to take on donations of computes and laptops for high school and college students who need these for class work.

This Saturday, at 10 a.m., the group will hold a furniture drive at the Wildcat Harley-Davidson in London. You can make any donation there to help the tornado victims in Laurel County.

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