So, what exactly does it take for a city to come together in times of hardship?
Not much, just good leaders and a lot of people who care about one another.
From the moment the weathermen began predicting heavy snowfall Monday, our county and city leaders began jumping into high gear. The judge-executive quickly declared a local state of emergency so that people would know it was time to stay home and get off the roads so the road crews could do their jobs. Goodness knows, some people in downtown Barbourville learned that lesson the hard way. Numerous cars were left stranded along the sidewalks because the snowplow came along and pretty much blocked them in.
Then there was the mayor and head of Emergency Management who got ahead of the dreaded power outages and water freezes. They immediately put out the word that the courthouse was available for anyone with power outages, and even city hall was designated in case the courthouse power went down. Mayor Thompson even told me the city was stocked up with plenty of MRE’s (ready to eat meals), in case they were needed.
From nearly the minute the heavy snow began to fall, county and city road crews were diligently working to remove snow from the roads.
Not only that, but several groups of residents were coming together to check on their neighbors and help dig each other out so people could get out for their medical treatments and other emergencies.
Personally, I wish to thank Mayor Thompson for the tour of town in his 4-wheel drive truck (which I could barely get into) Tuesday so I could record the after effects of the snowstorm. That has been one busy man since this whole winter storm started – digging people out, picking people up (including myself), delivering needed items to those stuck inside, and helping people dig out and push their cars out of the snow.
And I haven’t even begun to thank the fire department and local police departments who continued their own vigilance while stopping to help those in need. I personally witnessed our police chief, Winston Tye, stop on the road, get out and help push someone’s car out onto the highway. He probably won’t appreciate me telling on him, but I am.
Finally, I wish to thank everyone else who braved the storm, like those in the medical profession, who made themselves available to those in need, and the stores who stayed open so people – procrastinators – could get in and stock up on needed food supplies. And let’s not forget the farmers and anyone with a snowplow on their tractor or truck (including our own magistrate, Jason Lake) who got out plowed wherever the city and county couldn’t get to right away. And just how many people with 4-wheel drives picked up those who couldn’t even get to a main road?
Even after the storm had come and gone, the Barbourville Street Department was still hard at work shoveling the now iced-over snow off the city’s sidewalks.
Yes, I personally went out and thanked them. They deserved it. They’ve done one heck of a job, and I know they’re tired.
Yes, it turned out to be one really tough week for everyone, but I’m proud of how my county and its people handled it all.
I realized this is a long column, but I really feel it needed to be said.