FRANKFORT — Although the tornado winds that rocked Eastern Kentucky last March have long subsided, the damage they wrought remains quite evident in the communities they impacted. Beyond the catastrophic physical damage remains the emotional scars and great personal assistance needs that typically follow natural disasters.
Recognizing that recovery in the area is far from over, Kentucky Power employees, employees from other American Electric Power companies, and the American Electric Power Foundation, have combined efforts to raise and donate more than $19,000 to assist four, non-profit, charitable groups aiding in tornado zone recovery efforts.
“Following the storms many of our employees wanted to make a financial contribution to aid their Eastern Kentucky neighbors,” said Greg Pauley, president and chief operating officer of Kentucky Power. “Many of our employees saw firsthand the tornados’ devastation as they worked to restore power to the more than 14,000 customers who lost power during the storms. They wanted to give beyond their physical contributions and assist their neighbors financially and, perhaps, boost the spirits of those affected. So, many employees voluntarily donated money to a fund the company established to aid disaster victims.”
The company identified four charitable groups that have been established to aid recovery efforts — the Bluegrass Community Foundation, the Johnson County Tornado Relief Fund, the Gateway Area Development District, and the American Red Cross — and split the money among the organizations.
This month, Kentucky Power’s Bob Shurtleff, customer and distribution services manager – Pikeville, presented a check to Johnson County Judge Executive R. T. Daniel as a contribution to the Johnson County Tornado Relief Fund to assist area residents in the natural disaster recovery. In total, $3,827.60 was donated to the Fund.
“Our employees are pleased to make a contribution to the relief fund to assist the victims of last March’s tornados,” Shurtleff said. “Their hearts go out to all of those still struggling to recover after the loss of their homes, vehicles, personal property, and in some cases, their dear loved ones. They know money can never truly replace many of the things lost to the tornados, but they felt the funds might lessen the burdens in some respects.”
In addition to the money donated by AEP employees ($2,413.80), the American Electric Power Foundation also donated $1,413.80 to the Fund.
The funds will be used and administered by the receiving organizations to directly benefit tornado victims. The funds come with no particular designation for their use other than for the best possible benefit to those impacted by the storms.
“There is still a long way to go to fully recover from these storms,” said Shurtleff. “We know the Fund’s administrators will use the dollars responsibly to assist those still in need. We don’t want victims to lose faith; they have not been forgotten.”
Kentucky Power is an operating unit of American Electric Power and provides electricity to approximately 173,000 customers in all or parts of 20 eastern Kentucky counties.
American Electric Power is one of the largest electric utilities in the United States, delivering electricity to more than 5 million customers in 11 states.