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Aug. 4—SCIOTO — Thanks to donated goods rounded up by the Scioto County Democratic Party, some much needed supplies are heading to Eastern Kentucky as the region struggles in the wake of massive flood damage.
As of Monday afternoon, Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear said that the death toll from the flooding had climbed to 37, while hundreds of Kentuckians remained unaccounted for.
Last week's flooding displaced hundreds of Kentuckians due to massive damages. Roadways, bridges, and homes were damaged or washed away entirely as critical elements of Kentucky's infrastructure were paralyzed in the wake of the flood.
National, regional, and local rescue teams are still working to recover the missing and to aid those affected by the devastating flood. For Collin Docterman, Chairman of the Scioto County Democratic Party, rushing to the aid of our Kentucky neighbors felt like a neighborly duty, and one which he considers an apolitical issue.
"On very short notice, we had to jump into action," Docterman explained. "I saw a post from someone on the other side of the [political] aisle about Ashland Independent Schools putting together a drive to go out to Eastern Kentucky with supplies. I figured that was a reasonable thing [we could do]—no matter how small, it would do some good to get some supplies gathered up."
"We put things together in less than 24 hours and we had a pretty good response. I just actually loaded up my car to the gills with germicidal agents, hand sanitizer, and wipes. We've had a couple of big donations already and a couple more that need to be picked up," he added.
Docterman and others knew they needed to work together to send whatever help that they could. And despite the short notice of the call to action, Docterman said he was pleasantly surprised by the response from the community.
"Quite honestly I wasn't sure exactly—in that short period of time—how much the response would be. But it's been quite nice," Docterman said.
Docterman and the volunteers who coordinated the drive tried to make it as easy as possible for folks to donate goods, offering donation pickup by fanning out across the county. By the end of the donation drive, he said the monetary value of goods donated totaled around $500.
When it comes to aiding our Appalachian neighbors, Docterman and others know that this is a time to come together as people, not necessarily as politicians.
"I have had some folks from across the aisle reach out and say 'hey, you're going that way—we've got some cargo space, and we've got some stuff [to donate]," Docterman said of the support received for the donation drive.
For Scioto Dems specifically, these donation efforts are one of the ways the group is working to aid marginalized or vulnerable local populations.
"This is one of a few things we've done over the last handful of months," Docterman explained. "[In] my role previously as Events Committee Chair, we had a Christmas toy drive for kids affected by the opioid crisis. We linked up with Ascend Recovery to make sure those [donations] found homes. We did a book drive in the spring for children in foster care and sent [those] out with caseworkers to be distributed."
"Quite honestly we are trying to rebuild. And to do that you can't just be fired up every two years. We are trying to give our party members something to be fired up about throughout, even in the 'off years.' We are trying to plug into some give-back efforts, trying to be more engaged in our community on a personal level," Docterman said.
And firing citizens up with community engagement, Docterman hopes, will put a neighborly face to local politics in an already tense climate.
"Our hope is to be there to advocate for our neighbors whenever they're unseen or forgotten. I think when the county views the Democratic party they think of the national, 'big-D' Democratic party. We are not that. A lot of our party members stand for a lot of the same things as our national platform, but we are your neighbors," Docterman said.
He hopes that no matter their political affiliation, the people of Scioto County will stand with our Eastern Kentucky neighbors during this time.
"I would suspect that a lot of the people that are most affected by [the floods] in Eastern Kentucky have had to work very hard for the very little that has now been washed away, with very little support from the state and federal government. I feel akin to those folks—not only because I actually have kinfolk in that area, but because we can be a little bit forgotten. When I think of the flooding that happened a few years ago in West Virginia and how long it's taken them to get back on their feet, I see a long road for Eastern Kentucky. My heart goes out to them. Also, this could just as easily have been us to get [several] inches of rain," he said.
Visit the Scioto County Democratic Party online www.sciotocountydems.org
To learn more about the Team Eastern Kentucky Flood Relief Fund established by the state of Kentucky, visit: https://secure.kentucky.gov/FormServices/Finance/EKYFloodRelief.
Reach Kasie McCreary at (740) 353-3101 ext. 1931 or via email at email@example.com.
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