Spa offers massages, therapy to volunteers serving in flooded areas

The group is planning more therapy days to offer a little bit of hope to keep those volunteers going.

EASTERN KENTUCKY (WTVQ)- The clean up continues in eastern Kentucky after the devastating floods killed 37 people and left many without homes.
The efforts have left many tired and weary.

Nancy Hutchinson is the chief executive officer with the Kentucky Educational Development Corporation.- a co-op serving 75 schools.
Many of those schools were heavily impacted by the flooding.

“I don’t think anybody has a clear picture of the devastation that’s happened there,” said Hutchinson.

The association had boots o n the ground during the initial flooding recovery. Hutchinson says she and her staff helped feed communities impacted.

But it was what Hutchinson saw that grabbed her attention.

“I was just watching those people giving their all and just, almost down,” said Hutchinson. “We actually had one volunteer who passed out in Hazard from heat and exhaustion.

That led to the KEDC reaching out to Pamela Howard, who works for the Kentucky School for the Blind. She also is co-owner of a spa.
Howard was asked to come provide help to the volunteers. She admits she was skeptical at first.

“I thought, you know, this is a ludicrous idea. At the spa, we provide massages, relaxation, we provide detox,” said Howard. “I was just thinking about all of the victims. All of those that were without homes, without food, without clothing. I’m thinking I’m not so sure this will work.”

However, Howard and another staff member decided to go, taking anything and everything to help.
They set up shop and it wasn’t long before the first person walked in.

“A lady came in that was in her 70’s. I heard that you all are offering back massages in here. My back is killing me. My back is hurting, my feet are hurting. I’m gonna have to go home,” said Howard.

So they got to work, massaging the woman’s back and feet.
And more people showed up. For nearly 8 hours, they worked on volunteers and giving hugs.

Howard says it wasn’t until afterwards that she realized the impact they had made.

“That all of these people helping are the ones that so stressed out and have so much on their shoulders. They need coping mechanisms,” said Howard.

Hutchinson says its important for the volunteers to remember to take care of themselves as well.

“Sometimes, if we don’t take care of self, we can’t move on and help anyone else,” said Hutchinson.

Now the group is planning more therapy days to offer a little bit of hope to keep those volunteers going.

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