Whitsburg, Kentucky (August 15, 2022) – The ToolBank USA team has sent our disaster response trailer and camper to Whitsburg, Kentucky. Bill Hess, Disaster Services Manager, has set up camp and been working with our disaster relief partners from Team Rubicon, the Cajun Navy Ground Force, RISE Disaster Relief & Recovery, Inspiritus, and Catholic Charities. Prior to Bill’s departure from Panama City, FL, he was able to stock up on fresh water and cleaning supplies donated from Catholic Charities. Upon arrival in Kentucky, Bill was also able to team up with US National Guard who has been responding to the flooded areas with manpower and supplies. ToolBank Disaster Services currently has tools in the hands of our disaster relief partners in Whitsburg, Hazard, Fleming-Neon, Jackson, and Wayland, KY.

At this time, we are projecting about a 3 – 5 week deployment, but we will continue to monitor the situation to see if the need will be longer. Bill has been our initial responder and will be met by Dan from the New Orleans Disaster Services warehouse. Dan will deploy for a few days while Bill heads up to Chicago to help set up the Windy City ToolBank warehouse and assist with a large scale volunteer project hosted by The Mission Continues, utilizing ToolBank tools. Jaime Valle, Puerto Rico Disaster Services Manager, will join Bill in Chicago to learn about setting up a warehouse and then will travel back to Kentucky with Bill to learn about deployment when a disaster occurs.

Thank you to our supporters for their assistance in our deployment and response to these devastated areas in Kentucky. The Ford Motor Company Fund loaned our response team 2 trucks; one is a hybrid and the other is an all-electric Lightening Pro Ford truck. These trucks will not only pull our trailer of tools to the surrounding communities, but also power our camper that our team lives in during their deployment. The onboard power system helps charge batteries for our tools and frees up our generators so that we can loan those to people without power. AirLink proved our team with airline tickets to deploy for this natural disaster. The Home Depot Foundation and Lowe’s have also generously pledged funding to help support our efforts in Kentucky.

Beginning on July 24, 2022, and lasting over the span of a week, several areas of the United States were impacted by numerous flash flooding events. These areas included parts of Missouri and Illinois, especially Greater St. LouisEastern KentuckySouthwest Virginia, parts of West Virginia, and the Las Vegas Valley. Late on July 27 and into July 28, historic flooding began in central Appalachia, particularly in Kentucky, where a state of emergency was declared. A total of 38 people were killed in Kentucky, with a 39th fatality occurring days later during cleanup efforts.

Governor of Kentucky Andy Beshear declared a state of emergency on July 28 after what was described as a thousand-year flooding event. The Kentucky Court of Justice closed the judicial centers in Floyd, Letcher, Magoffin, and Perry counties due to the extreme flooding. The storms dumped up to 10.4 inches (260 mm) of rain on parts of the state. Kentucky cities severely affected by the floods include HazardJacksonPaintsvillePrestonsburgMartinPikevilleHindmanWhitesburgFleming-Neon, and Jenkins.

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