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Hurricane Ike brought out the ‘neighbor’ in Carroll Countians

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By Phyllis McLaughlin

Without a doubt, I think it’s safe to say that “neighborliness” is alive and well in Carroll County.

After Hurricane Ike blew through the area on Sunday, Sept. 14 – actually, before Ike was even finished with us – people were out and about, moving trees out of roadways and checking in on their neighbors to make sure everything was OK.

Alma Elliott, who lives on Sparta-Sanders Road in Sanders, said she grilled out Sunday night for herself and her husband because their power was out earlier that day. While doing so, she said she made extra and took it over to her neighbor, Wilma Raisor, to make sure she had a “hot meal,” too.

While I was talking to Ms. Elliott on Monday, the day after the storm, two men stopped by to make sure things were OK at her house. One was Tom Abercrombie, a member of the Sanders Volunteer Fire Department. I didn’t get the other gentleman’s name.

Driving around the town, I heard the constant whining of chainsaws working their way through downed trees and limbs. Several men, including others from the SVFD, were out clearing debris away from power lines. Michael Dermon, who had that day off from work, explained that their goal was to make it easier for Kentucky Utilities crews to spend their time repairing the power lines and restoring service, rather than wasting time on cleanup.

On this page, Ann Deatherage also cites a citizen who braved the storm, going door to door to check on her neighbors.

Nearly all the city streets and county roads here were passable – if not late Sunday, on Monday. City and county workers were out there, shoulder to shoulder with volunteers who gave their time not for recognition, but simply for the pride of knowing they were able to help out.

I have to admit, my husband and I made the poor decision of sticking to our plans for driving to Rising Sun for an arts festival there. Though we had second thoughts at one point, we went anyway. On our way there, we laughed as we quoted classic lines from the movie “Twister” – you know, “We’ve got debris!” and “Another cow! Whoops, no, same one.” (Obviously, we’ve seen that movie more than a few times.)

We arrived to find the event  cancelled, so we ate at the buffet at Grand Victoria Casino. Even as the power went off – and then came back on – no less than six times, it still didn’t really occur to us that this was an out-of-the-ordinary storm.

But as we made our way west, skirting downed trees and changing our course as we were redirected around towns like Patriot, that were really hit hard by the storm, we just wanted to get back home. We were worried about the trees in and around our own yard.

In Vevay, law enforcement officers were forcing everyone to stay off the roads until the storm passed – it was that bad out. We enjoyed the darkened hospitality of the former Ogle Haus, now the Best Western, for about two hours or so.

When we found out the Milton-Madison bridge was closed out of concern for its structural integrity, we traveled to Markland Dam, crossed back into Kentucky and made our way back to Milton. It took five hours to get home from Rising Sun, usually a drive of about an hour and a half. We were exhausted.

I’m thankful there were so few injuries, and as far as I know, no fatalities in our area due to the storm. And I’m thankful to those who volunteered to help. It’s that “roll up your sleeves” response that makes living in a small town so attractive.