Local couple seeks items for tornado victims

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By Phyllis McLaughlin

When she heard the news about the tornado that struck Moore, Okla., on Monday, May 20, Tish Hatton’s thoughts immediately went to her family living in that area.

A niece and two sisters-in-law and their families live only miles from where the EF-5 category twister cut a 1.3-mile-wide swath of destruction 17 miles long, killing at least 24 people.

Hatton’s family members reported some wind damage and debris around their homes, “but everyone is fine,” she said yesterday.

Her next thought was to figure out a way to help those who survived but lost their homes and belongings.

Initially, she and her husband, Harry, considered putting together a “care” package and mailing it to family members, who would distribute items to those in need.

Then, on Facebook, she started chatting with her friend Jill Hamilton, also of Carrollton, who said she had items she’d like to send, too.

At one point, Tish said, “wouldn’t it be cool if we could fill a U-Haul?”

Hamilton agreed, and the twodecided to start a Facebook page – “Oklahoma Tornado Relief from Carrollton, KY” – seeking donations from Carroll County residents to fill a trailer with much-needed items. The Hattons plan to drive the trailer and donations to Oklahoma on Friday, May 31. Once there, the donations will go to a Red Cross collection center in Shawnee. Any items the Red Cross doesn’t need will be donated to a local church for distribution.

Hatton said she has seen her community pull together to help those in need and expects that it will do so again for the people in Oklahoma. “This is an amazing community. I hope everyone can give a little – it all adds up.”

This is Hatton’s first attempt at collecting donations for such a cause, and she’s trying to deal with unexpected obstacles – first and foremost, finding someone to lend an enclosed trailer for the trip out west.

“We will figure out a way to get [the donations] there,” she said, even if it means tying everything down onto their own car trailers. “People will think we’re the Beverly Hillbillies, but it’ll get there.”

She was surprised that getting a trailer turned out to be so difficult, but she’s optimistic one will be provided. “God put us on this path, and he will show us the way.”

Drop-off locations for donations have been set up at Avona’s Diner on Park Avenue, next to Rite Aid, and Earl Floyd Service Center on Hwy. 227. Walmart in Madison, Ind., also is setting up a collection center where people can donate new items and nonperishable food.

Donations will be taken to Worthville Baptist Church, where volunteers will sort and pack items. They will be stored there until the Hattons set out for Oklahoma.

Her sister-in-law, Marla Hatton Hunt, posted on the Facebook page that baby items are the most-desperately needed – diapers, wipes, formula, pacifiers, blankets and wash cloths – anything for babies, as well as expectant and nursing mothers.

Also needed are personal-care items and nonperishable food.

Donations of gas cards also would be helpful, as the Hattons will be driving 950 miles to Oklahoma with the trailer – they expect it to take 15 hours.

Though her husband’s parents lived in Carrollton when he was born, the family moved to Oklahoma when he was a toddler. He lived there until he was 16, when his family returned to Carroll County.

Living in Oklahoma, “you know how to adapt” and deal with tornadoes, which are a common occurrence in the Great Plains. “You just deal with it,” she said, adding that as a boy, Harry spent a lot of time huddled in closets when tornado warnings sounded.

But one thing is certain, she said: “Everything [donated] will be greatly appreciated.”

For more information about the project or to donate, call or send a text to Hatton at (502) 525-3997 or contact her online via Facebook.