The massive outbreak of tornadoes that struck Kentucky last week was devastating for communities and families across a large swath of the Commonwealth. Nearly two dozen Kentuckians lost their lives in the deadly storms, hundreds were injured and many lost everything they owned. One of my field representatives, Christina Peterson, gave this account from West Liberty:
"The people of West Liberty, like the other areas affected, have so many stories of true heroism and bravery. A bank manager sent his employees into the bank vault while he ran out to help a young family with two small children get out of the car. The back of the bank was completely ripped off as they were running into the vault and they all survived.
"A city employee broke several ribs while climbing the ravine to her house to see about her daughter. As she was climbing, she looked over and her bedroom curtains were hanging in the tree next to her. Once she topped the ledge, lightning struck and she was able to see that her entire house was just gone. Her daughter had sought shelter at a relative's house and was safe.
"The people there are just exhausted, but determined. Everyone seems to still be in a state of shock. One woman I spoke with, whose house had been completely destroyed, had been walking around the town during daylight hours for two days looking for something, anything, that looked familiar. She said, 'my entire life is just gone, there's nothing left.'
(A view of the tornado damage in West Liberty, taken Monday, March 5.)
In the aftermath, there has been an outpouring of support from first responders, volunteers and relief organizations. Whether it be groceries, household supplies or simply donations, Kentuckians have responded to this disaster in countless generous ways.
There remains much work to be done to provide relief. And it will take great effort to rebuild. But, we will rebuild. And I pledge to work with our communities to make sure they have the resources and attention they need.
(A gas station in Salyersville demolished by the storms.)
Kentucky Granted Disaster Declaration
Sen. Mitch McConnell and I sent a joint letter to President Obama urging him to give timely consideration to Gov. Steve Beshear's request to provide Kentucky with a federal disaster declaration. The president granted this request, meaning federal money can help with clean up and rebuilding.
(Downtown West Liberty in the aftermath of Friday's tornado.)
Currently, federal funding is available to affected individuals in Bath, Campbell, Carroll, Grant, Johnson, Kenton, Laurel, Lawrence, Martin, Menifee, Montgomery, Morgan, Pendleton, and Rowan counties. Additional counties could qualify. Assistance for individuals can include grants for temporary housing and home repairs, low-cost loans to cover uninsured property losses, and other programs.
Renters, homeowners and business owners may qualify for help through the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). However, they must apply for assistance. The process takes 15 to 30 minutes. Registration is available online at http://www.DisasterAssistance.gov
or by phone at (800) 621-FEMA (3362) or (800) 462-7585 (TTY) for the hearing and speech impaired. The toll-free telephone numbers will operate from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. (local time) seven days a week until further notice.
Disaster Recovery Center in Morgan County
FEMA is opening a disaster recovery center in Morgan County at noon today, Friday March 9, at the following location:
Kentucky Housing Cooperation Building
1084 Highway 7
West Liberty, KY 41472
The DRC's hours of operation will be from 9:00 a.m. - 6:00 p.m., seven days per week (will be adjusted based on attendance).
East Bernstadt Recovery Help Center
The East Bernstadt Recovery Help Center located on Highway 490 (just before you reach the East Bernstadt Post Office) is now open Monday - Saturday from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. The center is open for tornado victims to receive supplies ranging from clothing, towels, toiletries and other various home items.
On the Ground
My staff has been on the ground in the areas affected by the storms, surveying damage and compiling information. They will be holding mobile office hours in the affected communities in the days and months to come. Please contact them if you have any questions or are in need of assistance.
Eastern Kentucky: Chris Musgrave, (859) 338-7348 cell, email@example.com
Southeastern Kentucky: Bryan Mills, (606) 854-3296 cell, firstname.lastname@example.org
Northern Kentucky: Bernie Kunkel, (859) 322-3499 cell, email@example.com
North Central Kentucky: Jennifer Decker, (502)572-8334 cell, firstname.lastname@example.org
How Can You Help?
Here are just some of the ways to volunteer or donate to help tornado victims:
Christian Appalachian Project
The Christian Appalachian Project is on the ground in all disaster zones providing shelters, shower facilities, and supplies. Donations can be made for these relief efforts at http://www.christianapp.org/2012/03/tor ... ppalachia/
WYMT Telethon/East Kentucky Relief Fund
Television station WYMT will be airing the "Telethon for the East KY Relief Fund" from 4 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. ET, on Tuesday, March 13. The telethon will be hosted by WYMT and country music duo Halfway to Hazard. Donations can be made at any Community Trust Bank or you can mail them to:
East KY Tornado Relief Fund
c/o Foundation for Appalachian KY
P.O. Box 310
Chavies, KY 41727
Kentucky Cares Campaign
The Kentucky Cares Campaign has been set up to help those hurt by the tornado.
Today, Friday, March 9, Kentucky Cares will host a tornado relief phonebank at TV station WKYT from 10:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. The numbers for the phonebank are (859) 299-5455 or (800) 500-1513.
To give to the campaign at any time:
•Text Redcross to 90999.
•Go to Redcross.org and give to the Disaster Relief Fund.
•Drop a check off at any Central Bank location.
•Mail a check to:
1450 Newton Pike
Lexington, Ky. 40511
In Washington, D.C.
A Platform to Revitalize America
Yesterday, at a press conference in the U.S. Capitol, I unveiled my FY2013 budget, "A Platform to Revitalize America," and was joined by co-sponsors Sens. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) and Mike Lee (R-Utah). My plan is the only budget proposal that balances the budget in five years, significantly reduces spending, and restores fiscal order to Washington.
While Washington continues to spend recklessly and ignore the ever-growing deficit, I am offering a plan that will address this country's looming debt crisis in a truly timely manner. The time has come for a change that will restore fiscal order in this country, and I will do everything in my power to ensure that this happens. Click HERE to read my entire statement on my budget proposal or click the link below to view my budget in its entirety.
SENATOR RAND PAUL'S PLATFORM TO REVITALIZE AMERICA
Property Rights Tele-Townhall
I am hosting a live tele-town hall on EPA overreach and property rights on Tuesday, March 13, at 9 p.m. ET - See the invitation below and RSVP today.
You are invited to join Sen. Rand Paul in a live tele-town hall conference call on Tuesday, March 13, 2012, at 9 p.m. ET, to hear him discuss his legislation, the Defense of Property Act of 2012 (S. 2122), and answer your questions. This is an important opportunity to discuss the out-of-control Administration's EPA and what you can do to help Sen. Paul rein in their unchecked power and assault on Americans' private property.
***To register for the tele-town hall conference call, please click on the following link TODAY: http://bit.ly/xJFu9w
(Once you enter your contact information on our secure site, you will receive more information regarding Tuesday's tele-town hall, including dial-in information. Please share this link with your friends and colleagues - anyone who wants to join the fight to stop the EPA in its tracks.)
This week, I spoke with several Kentucky radio stations including: WXMZ's Jerry Wright in Owensboro, WHAS's Mandy Connell and Terry Meiners in Louisville, and WLAP's Leland Conway in Lexington, as well as those across the country.
You can find updates on what I'm doing by visiting my Senate website, http://www.paul.senate.gov
and you can follow my official Twitter account HERE. You can also subscribe to my YouTube channel HERE. Don't forget to become a fan of my official Facebook page for other timely updates.