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Folks without power staying positive at Rockcastle County Middle School warming shelter

Published: Feb. 19, 2021 at 3:49 PM EST
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ROCKCASTLE CO., Ky. (WKYT) - Rockcastle County was hit hard by this week’s weather and countless are still without power.

A warming shelter was opened at Rockcastle County Middle School to provide people without heat or water a safe place to sleep.

New friendships, it seems, can start anywhere. Terry Horton and Michael Reeb met at the warming center at Rockcastle County Middle School.

“This gentleman, he sticks with me like glue,” Terry says.

“Terry is the greatest storyteller I’ve ever met, I wish I could tell a story like him, but maybe if I can around him long enough, maybe he’ll rub off,” Michael says.

Terry was one of the countless people in Rockcastle County to lose power after this week’s weather, but that’s not his only obstacle. He lives alone with hearing difficulties and is blind in his left eye. Still, after spending a few days at the shelter, he’s choosing to be optimistic.

“It’s warm, it’s friendly, I haven’t heard anybody say a bad thing about anybody, so I’m grateful,” Terry says.

Terry’s cot was one of 36 at the middle school gym, with each cot placed 6-feet-apart to practice social distancing.

“Rockcastle County Schools, our motto is to educate, feed, and support, and that doesn’t end with our students, that ends with our entire community,” says superintendent Carrie Ballinger.

Ballinger says while outages bring challenges any year, COVID-19 has made it even more difficult to bring people shelter. She says luckily they learned lessons holding classes in an era of social distancing.

“We kinda had those protocols down, so we just transferred that to this current situation,” Ballinger says.

To Terry, it’s about taking it one step at a time and making sure to enjoy the company on the way.

“I’ve got a new friend right here and so you can’t beat it and they have treated me like a king and I’m really grateful for all their help,” Terry says.

Showing the power of positivity can brighten even the darkest of situations.

Ballinger says if anyone still needs help after this week’s weather, they can contact the non-emergency 911 center, the sheriff’s office, or the fire department.

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