LETCHER COUNTY, Ky. (WJHL) — The people in eastern Kentucky are struggling trying to clean up after devastating floods.
Letcher County Central High School became a supply distribution center, where people could get things like cleaning supplies, and food.
They also got something they didn’t know they needed: the energy and kind words from athletic director Jim Bob McAuley.
McAuley is always ready for a funny remark or words of encouragement.
“Community helping community. That’s how we do it here in the mountains,” he said.
McAuley is normally doing his walking inside of Letcher County Central High School. But when the floods hit, he spent his days outside the school, helping coordinate donations and getting supplies to the thousands of flood victims driving through to get supplies.
He is often on the phone organizing the delivery of supplies to people who are trapped. He is heard saying, “If you know of anyone who can come up here, I’ll load them with all the water they can hold if you can get it on.”
Each day, he greets flood victims with a smile, some kind words, and fills their vehicles with essentials. And through a trying time for his community, McCauley shows up each day…with a smile on his face, encouraging words, and maybe a high five to those who need it most.
As he talks to people, he directs other volunteers saying, “They need cleaning supplies. Okay, give me two buckets of cleaning supplies, mops, brooms, the works.”
And the pedometer he wears shows it. In less than a week, he walked 60 miles, directing cars and coordinating volunteers.
“I don’t walk unless something is chasing me usually,” he said laughing.
After a horrific event, he says compassion for neighbors has multiplied in people of all ages.
“I’ve made a lot of social media posts this week about how parents complain about this generation (of young people), and this generation of youth are absolutely amazing,” McCauley said.
“I think it may have something to do with the wifi being down,” he joked. “But, not only have opposing teams and rivals been here helping us, the kids in general have been the heroes of the whole thing. And I tell parents, if you have trouble with the kids look in the mirror, because these kids are awesome.”
And through a trying time for his community, McCauley shows up each day with a smile on his face and encouraging words to his mountain neighbors.
“It’s been a challenge, but people in Letcher County they’re tough, and they’ve adapted, and we’re rolling with the punches.”