In the wake of the devastation caused by deadly tornadoes that ripped through Kentucky and neighboring states this weekend, Hillsboro resident Buz Oppy is planning to bring items to assist impacted families to Mayfield, Kentucky on Thursday, Dec. 16.
Oppy’s daughter, Hannah Pasko, 29, lives in Mayfield and, along with her husband and two children, is a survivor of the quad-state tornado. Pasko and her family were home during the storm but were not hurt.
“Their home is still standing and has a lot of damage, but it’s the only one left on the block standing,” said Oppy. “The homes all around there are on the ground, so she is very, very fortunate.”
At least 35 people have been confirmed dead in Kentucky following the storm, and Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear estimated that the final total of fatalities will be anywhere from 50 to 100.
President Joe Biden approved Beshear’s request for a declaration of a state of emergency in the state Saturday, Dec. 11. The declaration orders federal assistance to help with local response efforts.
“We are united with our people; united to find and rescue as many as possible; united to grieve; and united to be here for our families impacted – not just today, but in the years to come so that we can rebuild together,” said Beshear.
At more than 200 miles long, the storm event was the longest tornado track on record and the largest in Kentucky history.
“A couple places have been hit incredibly hard, certainly Mayfield here in Graves County, but everywhere along the line of this tornado that touched down and stayed down for 227 miles,” said Beshear.
Knowing the severity of the storm’s aftermath, Oppy wanted to do what he could to help. “For family and friends, that’s what you do for them,” he said.
He plans to bring personal items such as toilet paper and water because the city’s water tower and most stores were taken out.
“They are keeping the majority of the people out of town right now, and they’re not letting them back in because it’s so bad,” he said.
He also plans to bring blankets and survival items. “Those are the kind of items that I want to take because I don’t want to take a bunch of food there that they can’t keep because they don’t have electric, and they don’t have water, and they don’t have ways to cook,” he said.
“I thank anybody for any help that they can give or anything they can donate,” he added. “We will pull together and get through it and move on.”
Items needed from donations include water, blankets, personal hygiene items, cleaning supplies, baby wipes, snack cups, crackers, granola bars, apples, oranges, paper towels, toilet paper, diapers, toothpaste, soap, washcloths and towels.
Former Hillsboro resident Kassie Juillerat Bennett, who know lives in Lexington, Kentucky, went to Mayfield, Kentucky and other towns with her husband and four sons to help with the relief effort. She was posting live updates Monday on Facebook.
“Until you’re here and see it and feel it … it’s just so horrible,” she said.
She and her family were going door to door in Mayfield helping families carry possessions out of damaged homes. She said the things people were asking for included baby wipes, water, tarps (because it is supposed to rain Wednesday), hammers, nails, kitten and puppy food, and cat litter.
Donations for Oppy’s trip can be dropped off at The Times-Gazette at 108 Governor Trimble Place from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Those interested in providing supplies can contact Sharon Hughes at 937-708-9443, Ann Elam at 937-763-3108 or the newspaper’s general office number at 937-393-3456.
Reach John Hackley at 937-402-2571.