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Tornadoes leave trail of death and destruction

Photo by Eugenia Jones
Frankie Bates and Phyllis Barnett wanted to help victims of the Western Kentucky tornadoes by dropping off canned goods at the McCreary County Tourism Office.  McCreary County Tourism Director Michelle Perry has collected donations of diapers, nonperishable food items, toiletries, etc.this week and will be headed to western Kentucky with the items later this week.

Photo courtesy MCSO

Sheriff Randy Waters was happy to see lots of McCreary County donations for the Kentucky State Police (KSP) donation drive helping victims of the western Kentucky tornadoes.  KSP Officer Billy Correll is pictured receiving the donated items from Sheriff Waters.  Sheriff Waters extended his thanks to McCreary Countians for coming together to donate food, water, blankets, and other items for people in need due to the tornadoes.  Waters said KSP headed to Western Kentucky on Wednesday with a tractor trailer full of donated items.

McCreary Countians can reach out to help in lots of ways

By Eugenia Jones

Leaving dozens of casualties and more than a thousand demolished homes and businesses in their wake, devastating tornadoes hit multiple states last Friday night and Saturday morning.  Western Kentucky was the hardest hit with 74 dead and 109 unaccounted for as of Tuesday afternoon.  Governor Andy Beshear said he expects the death toll will continue to climb.  The worst tornado travelled a horrendous path of more than 200 miles.  Deaths, with victims ranging in ages from two months to ninety-eight years old, have been reported in at least nine Kentucky counties including one fatality in Taylor County which is part of McCreary County’s state senatorial district and the home county of McCreary County’s State Senator, Max Wise.  Senator Wise was on the ground in northern Taylor County on Saturday morning immediately following the tragic weather events and expressed his gratitude to all who were coming to the aid of their neighbors.

“Thank you’ alone does not do justice to those men & women in law enforcement, fire, rescue, EMS, school volunteers, utility workers, ministerial groups, radio coverage, local elected officials & every day citizens offering their time & service to help in the tornado & storm damage which has affected so many families & loved ones,” Senator Wise posted on his Facebook account.

The tornado in Taylor County has been classified as an EF-3 (strong) tornado.  

Several McCreary County groups and individuals are reaching out with a helping hand to their fellow Kentuckians in wake of the devastation.  For those wishing to donate, the following is not an inclusive list but does give reliable options for donating.

• Pine Knot Post Office will be leaving Sunday morning (December 19) with a delivery to Western Kentucky.  Donations of water, non-perishable food items, toys, new clothing, toiletries, pet supplies, etc. can be dropped off at the Post Office through Saturday.  There is a donation box in the Post Office. The Post Office has designated a box truck to use for the delivery and would like to completely fill the truck.

• McCreary Co Farm Bureau has a box to assist ServePro in collecting toys and toiletries. The box will be out until Friday.

• Brandon’s Spirit Factory in Whitley City has set up a PayPal account (access on Brandon’s Spirit Factory Facebook page) to raise monetary funds to aid the community of Mayfield, Kentucky and its members in relief efforts after the devastation from Friday nights storms. Local government officials can use funds to decide where needs are best met; however, it is asked that needs for children be placed first. Brandon’s Spirit Factory said they are honored to host this event and every dollar raised will be donated.  Funds raised will be donated through the Team Kentucky Tornado Relief Fund.  The PayPay drive will last through next week.

• McCreary Tourism is asking citizens to help gather supplies for KY counties impacted by the tornadoes.  Donations can be dropped off at the McCreary Tourism Office (on the side of the MC Public Library) Monday, December 13th- Thursday, December 16th, between the hours of 9am-4pm.

Items needed include:  dog/cat food & supplies, new underwear and socks, toiletries, toothpaste and brushes, deodorants, hand sanitizer, hot hands, flashlights, batteries, bottled water, diapers, non-perishable food items, baby formula, new blankets, and new coats, hats, gloves/mittens.

• The Kentucky Wildlands and Eastern Kentucky Pride in partnership with McCreary Tourism and ProTrade Hardware are collecting donations. They will be delivering on Friday.  Drop-off locations are Whitley City Fire Department and McCreary County Tourism.

• Through yesterday, Whitley City Kroger collected donations of non-perishable food, new and very gently used toys, water, and blankets for the Kentucky State Police to deliver to Western Ky.  Kroger issued the following on their Facebook page, “Share the light of love this Christmas with those who need it most.  We send prayers for our Kentucky neighbors who have experienced devastation in the storms this past weekend.  Our hearts are with you.”  Michele Wilson Jones’ Law is also working with KSP.

• Be You Salon collected donations through yesterday.  

• Superior Construction-McCreary County’s Dwayne Watson-will be taking a load of donations on Saturday.  If anyone would like to donate please contact Dwayne at Superior Construction.  Sue Pendergraft is also working with donations.

• Western Kentucky Red Cross in partnership with Facebook has set up an online method for making donations.  Facebook is paying for all processing fees so 100% of donations will go to help people.

• United Way of Kentucky has set up a Disaster Recovery Fund.  By using the link, the organization says 100% of funds received by UWKY will go directly to recovery efforts in affected communities.  Make a donation at

• Christian Appalachian Project disaster relief fund.

• Governor Beshear has established the Team Western Kentucky Tornado Relief Fund to help. To donate, go to:  If you would prefer to mail in a donation, please make your check to Kentucky State Treasurer. In the memo line please note the donation is for the “Team Western Kentucky Tornado Relief Fund.” Send check to Public Protection Cabinet, 500 Mero Street, 218 NC, Frankfort, KY 40601.

• Local efforts also include the McCreary County EMS and South McCreary Fire Department (and other county fire departments) who have equipment and individuals on standby if needed.  The McCreary County 3rd district Constable’s Office responded to Mayfield KY to provide assistance as Constable Cody Stephens initially assisted the Sheriff’s Department with patrol and enforcement of curfew.  Isaiah Huddleston is a lineman for TVA, working storm damage repairs.  Troxell’s Tree Service is currently in Western KY cutting trees and limbs from homes and roads.  South Kentucky RECC has sent lineman to Western Kentucky, and KY Utilities has made a significant monetary donation.

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