Kentucky groups, companies commit to long-term Harvey relief

Updated: Aug. 29, 2017 at 4:42 PM EDT
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LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - Flood waters continue to rise in Texas, only adding to the devastation that has affected millions of people.

Support for Hurricane Harvey survivors continues in a big way from Kentucky, including a vow of long-term support.

The Presbyterian Church USA, headquartered in Louisville, said its Disaster Assistance Team expects to devote three to five years to the areas hit hard in Texas. That makes for a great balance with other area volunteers who can support the Houston area right now.

From the Kentucky Air National Guard sending another group of the 123rd to Texas on Tuesday, to Shop Local Kentucky raising thousands of dollars for Harvey relief efforts with its God Bless Texas t-shirts, the help continues rolling out.

>> How you can help Hurricane Harvey victims

In Maysville, EDS rolled out 60 huge mobile sleep trailers and shower trailers with generators to places like Corpus Christi to be used until the water in Houston recedes.

The daily images of enormous need and pain being felt in Texas strikes the heart of many here at home.

"I certainly feel a strong need to be there," Reverend Dr. Laurie Kraus, Director of Presbyterian Disaster Assistance, said.

Kraus will leave Louisville next week with a few others to join the church's national response team. She understands the devastation first-hand, as she was a pastor in Miami when Category 5 Hurricane Andrew displaced a large part of her congregation in 1992.

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"We didn't have electricity for a month," Kraus said. "It was tough."

That personal experience led Kraus and others to help disaster victims long-term.

"There were a lot of people who suddenly started saying, 'we would like to volunteer, we would like to show up and we would like to help rebuild'," Kraus recalled.

Now, Kraus and some of her national response team's 120 volunteers will provide emotional and financial support and long term recovery for Harvey victims. They have already sent emergency gr ant requests to help with the long-term response.

The reverend said, from her experience, the best help for victims is not stuff sent there, it's money so families can buy what they specifically need and also volunteers on the ground to provide support.

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