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Mayfield sending team to help eastern Ky. flood victims just months after tornado

Ohio Valley ReSource
Katie Myers

As rescue and recovery efforts continue in eastern Kentucky in the aftermath of historic flooding, western Kentucky communities that went through their own natural disaster less than a year ago are extending a helping hand.

The Mayfield fire chief is taking a team of first responders to the disaster area – a nearly six-hour drive covering over 350 miles – just under eight months after an EF-4 tornado devastated their community and several others in western Kentucky.

Mayfield fire chief Jeremy Creason knows what it’s like to go through a disaster. The tense hours and days after an EF-4 tornado that hit the western Kentucky town last December were on his mind when he saw the images from historic and deadly floods in eastern Kentucky this week. After talking with Mayfield Mayor Kathy O’Nan – who reached out to a contact in Gov. Andy Beshear’s office on Creason’s behalf – and contacting Kentucky Emergency Management, he started packing.

“About eight months ago, people from all over the Commonwealth came to our aid and I can't not return the favor,” Creason said. “It's just the same way those same people came to help us.”

Creason left Friday morning with six first responders, an ambulance and a truck. The fire chief is coordinating with Kentucky Emergency Management and plans to be in the disaster area for at least 48 hours, with the possibility of redeploying.

O’Nan said Creason has a heart “bigger than that tornado that hit Mayfield” and he’s been talking about helping other communities when disaster strikes since the tornado. She’s proud the city is in a position to help a community in need.

“[I’m] so proud that our community has a chance to give back to our family, our neighbors, our friends in eastern Kentucky who are struggling,” the mayor said. “We know what it's like when a disaster hits. So we know what you're going through. We weren't flooded, but we know disaster and I'm so honored that Mayfield can send some help to eastern Kentucky.”

Bremen, another western Kentucky city impacted by December’s tornadoes, also announced Friday they were sending a team and supplies to Hindman, Kentucky.

A native of western Kentucky, Operle earned his bachelor's degree in integrated strategic communications from the University of Kentucky in 2014. Operle spent five years working for Paxton Media/The Paducah Sun as a reporter and editor. In addition to his work in the news industry, Operle is a passionate movie lover and concertgoer.
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