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Stepping Up After Disaster: Phis help clean up after the devastating Kentucky tornadoes

08.17.2022


By Jason Heflin, Western Kentucky ’97

Late in the night on December 10, 2021, an unprecedented tornado tore through Western Kentucky that proved catastrophic for many in its path. I am so proud of my Phi brothers and friends who helped in various ways through these tough times.

Kentucky Eta Brothers Drew Byers, ’02, Patrick McKew, ’04, and Joe Morel, ’02, spent several days helping with debris removal and cleaning up affected neighborhoods. They went house to house helping families cut and remove fallen trees and debris and hauling it to the curb for FEMA pick up. They also helped cover damaged roofs with tarps until professional help arrived for repairs.

Independent insurance agent Drew Byers assisted families with filing their insurance claims and finding resources such as a place to live, clothes, and basic toiletry needs.

Patrick McKew, wife Laura Beth, and sons Logan and Jacob rallied and helped put together an event where they prepared six hundred meals for first responders, the national guard, and families in need. They also raised money for the Warren County Public School system to directly aid in clean-up efforts and the immediate need sustained to families directly impacted.

Joe Morel works for a local bank and has assisted the community with applying for financing to rebuild homes and apply for federal aid to assist with renovation and remodeling. Joe serves as the Bowling Green Kentucky Alumni Club vice president, Eta North Province President, and trustee of the Pallas Athena Holdings Corporation.

Alex Downing is a nontraditional initiated member (fall 2021). Alex is the president of a local community bank and has played a key role in getting local businesses and organizations to provide monetary donations to help families who didn’t have insurance for funds to replace things lost. Alex Downing’s bank has donated over $15,000 in the form of monetary gifts to the American Red Cross, the local disaster relief fund and one hundred $500 gift cards to families impacted.

Damon Wilcox, ’97, a local Target store manager, worked with Target to donate Christmas trees to families devastated by the tornadoes.

Jason, ’98, and Jeremie McCarty, ’99, along with Jeremy Rowlette, ’01, drove from Louisville and volunteered during clean up and disaster relief. Jeremie and Cayce Vaughn, ’02, brought generators to share with those without power.

Brandon Miller, ’00, a WKU police officer served his community throughout the relief efforts.

Rachel Goodman, a 1990s Phi little sister, works in the events department at WKU and donated folding tables and chairs to the disaster relief center.

I am so proud of these Phis and friends who did what needed to be done in a very trying time for so many Kentuckians.

 

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