The helpers from the heavens: Kentucky guardsmen reflect on deadly flooding

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Published: Aug. 5, 2022 at 7:03 PM EDT
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HAZARD, Ky. (WYMT) - When the floodwaters poured through Eastern Kentucky, it was not long before boots were on the ground to help the people of the region reclaim and rebuild the places they call home. But before the restorations came the rescues, during which some of the “boots on the ground” were actually hundreds of feet in the air.

“It’s a completely different perspective,” said Staff Sgt. Shaun Morris. “You really get a grand view of, you know, the situation and how bad it is.”

The Kentucky National Guard hit the area as the waters raged below, working to rescue people who were stranded on rooftops and treetops.

“They’re going through a traumatic event and now we’re hoisting them 100 feet, plus into the air,” Morris added. “So they’re even more terrified.”

Amidst the hard winds, the cold waters, and the long hours, some of Kentucky’s soldiers witnessed things they have never seen.

“Just destruction on a level I haven’t seen before,” said Sgt. First Class Jeremy Lowe.

Saving more than 500 lives, nearly 80 of those hoisted from danger, into the air, the men and women who serve are being celebrated by the communities that could not have survived without them- as mentioned by Congressman Hal Rogers during his trip to the mountains Thursday.

Now, reflecting on a week of work after the weather, the soldiers say they are just happy to serve and willing to stand until the impacted areas can rise as well.

“It’s an awesome feeling, to know that you did that,” Sgt. Morris said. “You were part of that; reconnecting family after something as tragic as this.”

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