‘The entire community itself was trapped’: Tennessee National Guard helps Kentucky flood victims

National Guard members traveled to Jackson, Kentucky, and are on standby if any more emergencies appear
Published: Aug. 2, 2022 at 5:39 PM EDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

JACKSON, Ky. (WVLT) - The Tennessee National Guard has returned home after leaving last Thursday to rescue those impacted by the Kentucky flooding.

National Guard members said there were a lot of creeks in their area, but now it’s all muddy rivers going through people’s homes.

“Imagine sitting in your trailer asleep, a lot of people around here live in trailers, not a lot of people were in houses, and next thing you know, you’re floating down what used to be a creek is now a river,” Sergeant Tracy Banza said.

Banza said as soon as they got there Thursday, they hit the ground running with rescue efforts.

“You can see the roads being washed away,” National Guardsman Robert Koons said.

Roads were being washed away in the community of Jackson where both adults and children asked for help.

“The entire community itself was trapped,” Sergeant Giovanni Dezuani said.

Many in Jackson, Kentucky, were trapped with no way of getting in contact with friends and first responders due to power outages. The Tennessee National Guard said social media was key in their rescue efforts.

“Some kind of signal device for us just allows us to come into those areas and do a check on you,” Sgt. Dezuani said.

When the National Guard found people, they said those impacted by the flooding didn’t want to leave. Sgt. Banza said these people were resilient.

“Obviously they want to take care of their young ones. They want to make sure their family and friends are taken care of, but those folks really didn’t want to leave. They said ‘Is help coming?’ I said ‘Well, there’s many roads washed out between here and there,’” Sgt. Banza said.

The Tennessee National Guard has come back to Tennessee, but they know it’ll take a long time to rebuild this community.

Guardsmen said the best way people can help Kentuckians is with donations. A church in Tazewell has a donation drive going through Aug. 2. They’re asking people for food, water, diapers, hygiene products and blankets.

Copyright 2022 WVLT. All rights reserved.