Volunteers cleaning storm-damaged community center

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GRAVEL SWITCH, Ky. (WTVQ)-The sun was out Thursday, but it wasn’t that long ago when storms damaged some Central Kentucky counties. That includes a valley near Boyle, Marion, and Casey counties where more than a dozen volunteers started cleaning a community center Thursday.

Two weeks ago there wasn’t nearly so much sunshine outside the Forkland Community Center in Gravel Switch.

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The Center’s Vice President, Doris Purdom, says she watched the rain then and wondered about the Center’s fate.

“I knew we were in for a bad thing, but I didn’t expect this bad,” Purdom said.

The Center did look bad after the nearby river jumped its banks and water started pouring in through the basement windows.



“It was kind of shocking because the refrigerator was laying on the floor, the chair, everything,” Purdom said.

A company already dried the building, but there’s still a lot of work left to do so volunteers are here doing all manner of task, such as peeling off wallpaper and trying to clean out the one working refrigerator. This is just the first of what will likely be many volunteer clean up days. The non-profit has two big events coming up in the fall.

Bob Gorley helps organize one, an educational day for kids.

“They do things they’ve maybe heard about from their grandparents, but never seen before like sawing wood with a cross-cut saw,” Gorley said.

“We’ve got volunteers that believe in what this stands for and they will help,” Purdom said.

This is about more than cleaning up a community center, though. When Gorley and Purdom were watching the storm and thinking about the center, they weren’t just thinking about its role today; they were thinking about their alma mater.

Purdom graduated in 1949, Gorley in 1958.

“When this school was built, it was the only place that children in this valley had to go,” Purdom said.

In the 1970s when the school board sold the building, a community group bought it so volunteers aren’t just trying to keep a social center going, they’re also preserving a community legacy.

If you’re interested in helping with the cleanup effort, you can join the volunteers on most days or donate.