DUNNSTOWN – When a call for help goes out, the people of Clinton County respond.
That was proven by ten on Sunday as a dozen volunteers helped load two trailers with supplies to help residents of eastern Kentucky who were caught in devastating flooding just over a year ago. week.
Jon Plessinger, Hannah Park and Matthew Croak – three county government employees – began asking the public for help in “Operation Help Your Neighbour” Monday, August 1. The trio asked area residents and businesses to donate various supplies and items that they would transport to Hazard, Ky. the following week.
They planned to drive a truck and trailer, donated by Kyle Coleman – which must have changed shortly after donations started piling up.
“Around the middle of the week, we started to rethink as the donations came in,” said Plessinger.
Croak said directing was a little stressful, but they were able to sort things out.
“A few quick phone calls and we were able to get a second trailer,” he said, noting that local fire companies played a role.
The idea of collecting donations and taking them to Kentucky began with Plessinger.
“I’m really involved in the weather. I noticed what Kentucky was dealing with and contacted someone I knew there,” he said. “They said how much they were really hurting.”
For Park and Croak, when Plessinger told them about his idea, they were on board.
“Jon told me about it and I thought, why not help? So I decided to join” Park, who works in the county emergency department, said.
The same goes for Croak, a county community planner who volunteers locally.
“When people are in need, I think we should help them. That’s the main reason the three of us decided to do this. he said.
And, while the trio knew the community would come to help, they didn’t really expect her to reach the level she had.
“It’s surprising, we knew we were going to get a response, but not as much as we got,” said Park. “People are still doing good things.”
Plessinger shared a similar sentiment.
“There are still good people. With everything going on in the world, it’s nice to see. Even at 5,000 miles, people are always ready to help,” he said.
The Dunnstown Fire Station, one of the donation drop-off points, was full of supplies. Hundreds of rolls of toilet paper, paper towels, wipes, diapers, cleansers, water and more filled the tables around the building.
And Sunday’s heat didn’t deter a dozen volunteers from joining the effort to load the trailer for Plessinger, Croak and Park’s departure later that night.
First Quality at Lock Haven and McElhattan donated toilet paper, paper towels, diapers and wipes; State College’s Lowes donated various items, including five-gallon buckets; the county provided a monetary donation of $300 through a recent costume day; Good Neighbor Craft House also made a cash donation; the Wayne Township landfill provided donations, Plessinger said.
“The rest was individual donations”, he said. “Anything you can think of is here.”
Even though the volunteers worked together to efficiently load the supplies, the donations kept pouring in.
“It’s unreal” said a donor entering the full tables.
“Wow you did a great job,” said another.
And supplies for residents of Eastern Kentucky won’t be the only ones donated.
Plessinger said at least 50 pieces of emergency equipment have been donated by the Castanea, Wayne and Mill Hall fire companies and will be making the trip to help fire companies around Hazard, Kentucky.
The need for fire gear is high as firefighters in the area have been hit hard by flooding, he said.
Plessinger said he, Croak and Park will leave with two trucks and trailers loaded with supplies on Sunday evening. They plan to arrive in Kentucky on Monday and help unload and distribute supplies. The trio should be back by Tuesday.
If the supplies can’t fit in the trucks or trailers, Plessinger said they plan to donate whatever is left to local organizations.
“Everything will be given somewhere” he said.
The nearly $1,000 in monetary funds will be used for travel expenses such as fuel. Any remaining funds will be donated to Kentucky flood relief efforts, he said.