Kentuckians help Louisiana hours after Hurricane Laura makes landfall

Kentuckians help Louisiana hours after Hurricane Laura makes landfall
Hurricane Laura over Louisiana at 4:44 a.m. (via WAFB radar)
Hurricane Laura over Louisiana at 4:44 a.m. (via WAFB radar) (Source: WAFB)

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) In the wake of Hurricane Laura, several Kentuckians are coming to the aid of those in Louisiana. Thursday, the hurricane hit southwestern Louisiana as a powerful Category 4 storm, bringing sustained winds of nearly 130 mph.

While the storm rifled through the area, Ronnie Knuckles prepared to drive to Louisiana. Knuckles is the owner of Sgt. Junk-It, a local junk removal business in Louisville.

In a few days, his company will transition from junk removal to disaster relief.

“Although it’s not Louisville, it’s still an opportunity for Louisville to make an impact in other parts of the country,” Knuckles said. “So, we jumped on it as soon as possible.”

After he started his company a few years ago, Knuckles made contact with a Louisiana coastal development group. Last week, he said the group reached out and asked for his help ahead of Laura’s arrival.

“When this hurricane was on the way, he contacted me and said, ’Hey, I’m going to need as many trucks as you can, get here as soon as possible,’” Knuckles said.

Knuckles called his friend Carl Brown II, owner of Mann’s Moving LLC, who agreed to help. In the next few days, the two business owners plan to load three moving trucks with supplies and drive them to Louisiana Tuesday.

“That makes me feel great,” Brown said. “You know, I have these essential tools, the people, the trucks, the equipment and I’m in a better position to be able to provide assistance.”

“I’m hoping that they see that people from outside the country, from 700 miles away, are willing to go down there and help other Americans,” Knuckles said.

While they wait for direction on where to deploy their supplies, Tanya Garitty is already in the trenches.

Gariitty is originally from New Orleans but currently lives in Shelbyville. Last weekend, she returned home to Louisiana and is currently volunteering at an American Red Cross shelter in Baton Rouge, bringing supplies to the locals and waiting to provide even more assistance.

“I am that passionate about helping others as I would want somebody to be that passionate about helping me and my family,” Garitty said.

Red Cross spokesperson Amber Youngblood told WAVE 3 News, “the Red Cross Kentucky Region has sent two dozen trained Red Cross workers to help in efforts for Hurricane Laura, wildfires in California and the derecho in Iowa. At this time, we have 19 assisting in disaster relief efforts, 10 of which are in Louisiana or Texas for Hurricane Laura.”

LG&E has also sent resources to Louisiana and Texas.

Spokeswoman Natasha Collins told WAVE 3 News:

  • Since Sunday, LG&E and KU have released a total of 208 employee and contractor resources to assist utilities with systems in Hurricane Laura’s path.
  • The resources released include line technicians, damage assessors and vegetation resources.
  • At this point, the bulk of our company employee resources are assisting Entergy Louisiana. They have been working around the Baton Rouge area and as they continue to assist will be reassigned to areas within the Entergy Louisiana system.
  • LG&E and KU continue to participate in mutual assistance calls and to adjust assistance plans as needed based on ongoing communications.
  • We continue to monitor the forecast and expect the remnants of Laura to reach our system Friday afternoon through Saturday morning. We have more than 450 line-technicians and more than 200 vegetation resources available within our system and are confident we can manage any issues that might occur within our system.

Knuckles told WAVE 3 News his team will be hosting a donation drive on Sunday from 2-5 p.m.

The following donations will be accepted at Big O Tires (7935 Fegenbush Lane):

  • water
  • non-perishable food
  • toothpaste & toothbrushes
  • deodorant
  • diapers & wipes
  • women, children and men’s clothing
  • shoes
  • toilet paper
  • garbage bags
  • pet food

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