Good Morning America ‘Gives Back’ to Isom’s IGA owner Gwen Christon

ISOM, Ky. (WTVQ) — Good Morning America was in Isom Friday morning to give back to a woman who gave so much to her community, even after devastating flooding in July.

Gwen Christon has worked at Isom’s IGA since 1973 and owned it since 1998. The people around her describe the store as the “hub” and a “community gathering place” of that part of Letcher County.

“Gwen, she’s an amazing person. She takes care of us,” employee Phillip Breeding told GMA.

“She’s one of the most kind-hearted people I’ve ever seen. If there was an accident or something in the neighborhood, Gwen is there to help,” said customer Peggy Bach.

The flooding hit Gwen’s store hard — freezers were described like dominoes, toppled over, and food was thrown everywhere.

“It was just pure devastation,” Simon, her son, told GMA. “We were all in shock and we basically didn’t even know where to start the rebuild process at that part.”

Customers said Gwen sat outside in the IGA parking lot under a tent, which soon became a place for flood relief in the community, handing out bottled water, food and whatever else was needed.

“Her whole livelihood destroyed and she was still out here passing out water and clothes and meals,” said customer Malcom Wilson.

Because of this, GMA Gives Back wanted to honor Gwen. Thanks to sponsor Netspend, Gwen and her husband, Arthur, will get two roundtrip tickets to New York to attend Broadway musical Moulin Rouge! (which is one of Gwen’s dreams) and $10,000 to help rebuild her store.

“At the center of this picture of resilience and strength is this woman,” said ABC News Chief Meteorologist Ginger Zee, who was talking about Gwen. “This is Gwen Christon and her husband, Arthur, and son, Simon, and the whole community has been behind you Gwen and I know you think we are celebrating the whole community — and we are — but this morning is really about you and who you are and what you’ve done for everyone else.”

Gwen said Isom is home, it’s her family, it’s her community — it’s her people.

Gov. Andy Beshear also gave Gwen an acclamation for her “strong faith, kindness and resiliency and commitment to the people of Eastern Kentucky.”

She hopes to have the store ready to open by April.

Our ABC 36 meteorologist Dillon Gaudet and photographer Corey Bach were also in Isom with GMA crews to honor Gwen — and we all want to thank her for staying Hometown Proud, through everything.

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