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CHS helping students and alumni cope after weekend storms

By Ryan Clark
CHS Communications Director

Jeff Galloway and his family had gone to the basement. They were scared, and ready for the worst.

With the weekend forecast calling for potentially bad weather, Galloway was keeping tabs on the skies over his Alvaton, Ky., home. And when it became obvious that a tornado was heading their way, he and his wife took their two daughters and headed into the basement for cover.

The girls were scared, said Galloway, a physical therapist for Lifeline Home Health in Simpson County and co-owner of The Runners Lounge running shoe store. Luckily, their home in Alvaton, about 10 minutes away from Bowling Green, survived the storm unscathed.

“But Bowling Green is just wrecked,” Galloway said. “None of my patients or co-workers had any loss of property or anything like that — but one of my co-workers lost a friend, though.”

Last weekend, a tornado outbreak across eight states left more than 70 people dead in Kentucky, with more than 100 others still unaccounted for. Many College of Health Sciences graduates who live and work in the area were affected, as were the families of many current students.

Galloway, 41, graduated with a Physical Therapy degree in 2005, and spent the day after the storms lining up with dozens of others to give blood — something the area needs desperately, he said. The wait for the line was nearly two hours because so many people had come to donate.

“Seeing all these people come together to help is really what has affected me the most,” he said. “I mean, my life gets to stay normal tomorrow. I get to wake up in my house with my family, get in my car and go to work. Meanwhile, 15 minutes away, people are cleaning up what’s left of their lives and praying for things to go back to normal. I don’t really know how to reconcile those things other than looking for ways to help people.”

For students like Aaron Stanfill, who takes online classes and lives in Murray, she was worried about how exactly she would take her finals — because her home had no electricity. Thankfully, the power came back on, but the need for help remains.

“Some of my family didn’t come out quite as lucky though,” she said. “A few lost their homes. I know there are many communities across the state that need assistance, not just my hometown.”

Aaron, 34, works as a medical lab technician at Baptist Health in Paducah, and is currently enrolled in the MLT to MLS track. After the storms, she said, patients started coming in from the nearby candle factory in Mayfield — and she just happened to be working third shift when they did.

“I recognized some of the names coming in,” she said. “One of the worst off was a distant family member of mine — she was in a collapsed home. We were all a little freaked out by the situation to say the least. Our little lab was distracted, but prepared for the worst and ready to work. I left at about 4 a.m. that morning and people were still coming in.” 

Other students are having to deal with this destruction while they juggle the thought of finals and projects. It’s why CHS officials have been contacting them all individually to make sure they’re okay.

“Some members of our community have been significantly impacted, directly,” said Casey Shadix, CHS director of Student Affairs. “And even though it’s not complete devastation for a lot of people, their focus is being pulled back to family. Some have grandparents who have their health in jeopardy because of power outages. Some have family staying with them because of damage. These are things that can put you in a difficult headspace.”

Officials want all students to know: There are resources available to help you, whatever is needed.

“We’re reaching out to people just to make sure they’re okay — we’re a relationship-centered College,” Shadix said. “We want to make sure that wellness is at the forefront of our minds, and that’s what’s been so amazing in these few days. Our students’ resolve and determination — even when they’re going through something really difficult — has been remarkable. I really can’t believe it.”

If you need help:

If you are part of the UK faculty or staff and you are in need of financial assistance, please complete the CRISIS Fund application on the Staff Senate  website: https://staffsenate.uky.edu/crisis
 
For student-related issues, such as counseling and basic needs support, our Counseling Center (www.uky.edu/counselingcenter) is available to see you immediately. After hours and weekend phone consultation is available by dialing 859-257-8701 and pressing ‘1’ at the prompt. 
 
Additionally, students can engage with the Counseling Center during normal business hours by calling 859-257-8701 or walking in between 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. on weekdays. The Counseling Center’s welcome desk is located at 104 Mandrell Hall, directly across Limestone Street from the UK Rosenberg College of Law.
 
During the semester, students can also speak with a Counseling Center clinician through the Let’s Talk program that is offered via Zoom this semester. More information about the program and hours be found at www.uky.edu/counselingcenter/lets-talk. 
 

If you have questions about any other resources or would like to request additional assistance, please do not hesitate to call the Center for Support and Intervention at 859-257-3755. 
 
For more general inquiries, calls can be directed to UK Health Corps at 859-218-SAFE. 
 
For other issues — such as reports of facility damage — please email crisisresponse@uky.edu. Risk Management is working to compile any facility reports and assess damage to provide appropriate support. 
 
If you have additional questions or ideas about how we can support our CHS family over the coming hours and days, please reach out to me or one of your supervisors or professors.   
 
Lastly, please take steps to care for your mental health in this time of recovery: https://www.uky.edu/counselingcenter/

If you want to help the cause:

If you have the ability, please feel free to contribute to this fund online: https://uky.networkforgood.com/causes/14622-crisis-program
 
A fund to assist students is also available if you would like to contribute or if you know of a student in need: https://uky.networkforgood.com/causes/10124-basic-needs-and-persistence-fund

Other ways to donate include:

Team Western Kentucky Tornado Relief Fund 
https://secure.kentucky.gov/formservices/Finance/WKYRelief
 
American Red Cross 
redcross.org, 1-800-RED-CROSS or text REDCROSS to 90999
 
United Way of Kentucky 
uwky.org/tornado
 
To donate blood in your area: https://www.redcrossblood.org/donate-blood/how-to-donate/eligibility-requirements.html
 
Call the Kentucky Division of Emergency Management at 311 or fill out a survey at https://survey123.arcgis.com/share/02e24e0e3ddd4d158a21aaf9a0973384

 

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