YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – The Valley always opens its heart when disaster strikes. The latest effort follows the devasting flooding in Kentucky. Two local American Legions are teaming up to help the victims.
Ernest Thomas digs through the donations already received at American Legion Post 290 in Columbiana. It’s what he envisioned when he came up with the idea while seeing the Kentucky flooding on TV.
“We were sitting there watching the news last Sunday and it just hit me. We need to take care of the people down in Kentucky,” Thomas said.
He called Bill Venneri of America Legion Post 472 in Youngstown and they agreed to collect supplies at both posts.
“We need to collect whatever they can use and clothing is a big deal. They lost all their clothes, and they need cleaning supplies to clean their houses,” said Richard Houp, American Legion Post 290.
Gently used items such as clothes and shoes are requested along with cleaning supplies, toiletries and health and beauty items.
An American Legion post commander in Kentucky said what is needed most are paper towels, bleach, towels, rags, mops, brooms, buckets, squeegees and sponges.
The Legion also needs a box to bring the supplies to Kentucky for the two former U.S. Marines who will deliver the items. One is a Class-A CDL driver and a retired police officer.
The two local Legion posts have been shocked by the devastation in Kentucky, with homes wiped away and people losing everything they have.
The collection started on Monday, and word spread fast.
“Not only proud, I’m surprised. We had people call and say, ‘Hey, I got it. Ready now. Can we bring it?’ We said, ‘Well, yeah,'” Houp said.
The local American Legions don’t want to drive into the destruction in Kentucky and be a distraction. They’re working with another post that will deliver the supplies to where it needs to go to be the most effective.
“They’re veterans, we’re veterans… we’re veterans taking care of veterans, but we have to take care of the community too,” Thomas said.
The American Legion posts in Youngstown (373 E. Indianola Avenue) and Columbiana (44403 State Route 14) are accepting donations from 1-7 p.m. The last day to donate is next Thursday, August 18.
The truck is going to leave on August 20.
Patty Coller contributed to this story.