“They’re family”: dozens of volunteers clear storm damage in Estill County


ESTILL COUNTY, Ky. (WTVQ)- It likely will not be a restful weekend in Estill County, where people are still cleaning up after this week’s storms.

It has been a draining week for Rita Woolery, emotionally, mentally, and physically.

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“I was just devastated,” Woolery said, describing the moment she saw the devastation in her neighborhood.

Woolery says when the storm hit she was at Carhartt, where she has worked with her husband for almost 40 years. They came home to a damaged house and a destroyed shed. That is where Woolery kept her prized Christmas decorations.

Now, it is time to rebuild, something Woolery says she would not be able to do without the help of dozens of volunteers, including about 50 of her coworkers from Carhartt.

“Coming out here and giving our time that’s about all we can do to help,” Mashea Short said.

That help is so needed. April Berryman says she and her husband just lost their jobs on Valentine’s Day. Now, they have lost their roof too.

“It was the most terrifying thing I’ve ever went through honestly. Honestly,” Berryman said.

She is not sure she will be able to rebuild; she does not have  insurance.

“I don’t even know because I’ve lost everything. I’m alive. That’s the main thing, but I’ve lost everything,” Berryman said.

Her neighbor, Woolery, says seeing how the community is responding to that loss is amazing.

“I’m so grateful. I’m so thankful for all of our friends. They’re family. They’re family,” Woolery said.

The volunteers working on her neighborhood all coordinated with the county’s emergency management agency. Those in need of storm repair can be vulnerable to scams.

The Better business Bureau has these tips to keep you safe from scams when hiring a storm clean up crew:

-Get the company’s complete name, address and phone number. Be skeptical of any vague answers, or no offers of contracts or anything in writing. Beware of high pressure…reputable companies will let you check them out first

-Check out businesses with the Better Business Bureau by logging on to www.bbb.org/lexington. Get a list of BBB Accredited Businesses in the category you need on the website or by calling 1-800-866-6668. If a business says they are BBB Accredited, verify it with the BBB first.

-Verify that the company has liability and worker’s comp insurance, as well as licensing if required. If a contractor cannot provide proof of it, reconsider.

-If paying costs yourself, get several estimates.  Remember, businesses can charge whatever price they like. Get a written contract for work to be done. This helps protect the consumer and the business.

-If it’s an out-of-town or out-of-state company, ask how any warranty issues or problems will be addressed long after work is done and the company is gone.

-NEVER pay the entire amount of the job up front.

You can help out just like the volunteers working Friday. Donations for storm victims can be dropped off at Christian Worship Center at 105 Broadway Street in Irvine.

Donation needs include:

-toiletries (toothpaste, toothbrushes, toilet paper, soap, shampoo, deodorant)
-cleaning supplies (gloves, clorox, mops, brooms, rakes)
-bottled water
-snack foods (peanut butter crackers, cheese crackers, pop tarts)
-plastic totes for residents that have lost their homes to pack their belongings.

Please do not bring clothing. Helping hands ministry has plenty of clothes if they are needed at this time, according to officials.