ASHLAND, Ky. (KT) – When help is needed in northeastern Kentucky, Boyd County Emergency Management Director Tim England knows who to call.
Bill Johnson, who helps coordinates the Kentucky Disaster Relief volunteers in the area, is on England’s speed dial.
England needed some volunteers to pass out cases of water this weekend when two major line breaks caused 5,000 in the city to be without water.
Even though it wasn’t an official state Disaster Relief callout for help, several volunteers were immediately dispatched to the scene, putting cases of water in cars as they drove up to distribution sites.
“We’ve got a good rapport with Tim and Emergency Management,” Johnson said. “They’re just real aware of us. We’ve done that intentionally. We’ve intentionally went out and said, ‘Anything you need, let us know.’’’
Johnson said in order for Kentucky Disaster Relief to be officially deployed, it has to come through statewide director Coy Webb.
But for local instances, like the water break in Ashland, the same Kentucky Disaster Relief workers who live in northeastern Kentucky show up to get the job done. Several of them were wearing the familiar yellow shirts of Disaster Relief.
“These are Christian brothers and sisters helping out their neighbors,” Johnson said.
Rose Hill Baptist Church Pastor Matt Shamblin put out an associational call for help as well.
“We could take whoever wanted to help because you don’t have to be trained to pass out cases of water,” he said.
Word spread quickly with several Kentucky Baptist volunteers pitching it to help their neighbors.
As for Boyd County Emergency Management’s strong relationship with Johnson and Kentucky Disaster Relief, Johnson said it’s pretty simple.
“Every time they’ve called, we come out,” he said.
Volunteers worked eight hours Saturday and then a second line broke Sunday and they were passing out water the next day too.
The water lines are now all repaired.