Corryton ranch organizes aid to Kentucky

Beth KinnaneGibbs/Corryton, Our Town Neighbors

By the time Michelle Neuzil made it back to her ranch in Corryton on Sunday, all she wanted to do was go to bed: no unhooking the trailer, no last-minute chores, no one last thing.

“It was insane,” Neuzil said. “I couldn’t move. I’ve never been so tired.”

Tired from a hard day’s work is nothing new to Neuzil, who owns TC Performance Horses and House Mountain Retreat on Stephens Quarry Lane with her husband, Paul. But her and her team’s efforts this past weekend took a different kind of toll.

Michelle Neuzil and her champion Appaloosa stallion, TC Tommy Boy

Neuzil is in the process of having a new covered arena installed at the ranch. As it happens, the man in charge of the installation is from Hazard, one of the many areas hit hard by the record flooding in Eastern Kentucky that began July 28. And this man’s family is one among thousands needing help cleaning out and starting over following this natural disaster.

So, she put out the call for supplies, loaded up a horse trailer, and headed up with a group of eight on Friday morning to make a delivery. But they didn’t stop with just collecting, dropping and going. Neuzil said they basically camped out in the parking lot of Summit Community Church in Hazard, and drop and collection zone for ongoing relief efforts as well as nearby FEMA unit.

While she and some others stayed at the church to help unload, sort and redistribute supplies, others in her group volunteered to go help do some of the actual dirty work. They checked in and were assigned a crew to work with.

“One thing they are really needing help with beyond the supplies is volunteers to help with the clean-up,” Neuzil said. “They need people to help do the physical work. They really need more people.”

What has gotten somewhat lost in the shuffle of getting much-needed supplies to the affected, 13-county area, is that many places are still unreachable by industrial equipment because roads have been washed out as well as bridges. Another factor is ongoing rainy weather.

“It rained pretty much the whole time we were there.” Neuzil said. “It stopped the morning we were heading home.”

For her part, Neuzil helped unload, sort and reload a semi-truck’s worth of supplies in a single day. Now that she is home, she is planning to head back as soon as she gets another trailer-load full. She is asking for cleaning (mops, shovels, buckets, etc.) and personal hygiene supplies as well as food for pets and livestock (horses, goats, cattle, chickens).

“Veterinarians have come in and scooped up animals to house them,” she said. “But some people still have their animals at home with no way to feed them right now.”

Neuzil said the extent of the damage was “just awful” and that photographs and video don’t quite capture it.

“Beyond helping with the supplies, we were just there for people,” she said. “They had someone to just talk to or a shoulder to cry on.”

Anyone wanting to donate supplies can call Neuzil directly at 541-382-6652 to arrange drop-off. If a large amount, she can make arrangements for pick up. Direct donations to the church can be made via check to Summit Church Hazard with “flood relief” in memo and mailed to 147 Century Circle, Hazard, Kentucky 41701. Checks can also be dropped off to Neuzil. Monetary donations can also be made at these verified links:

Team Eastern Kentucky Flood Relief

Foundation for Appalachian Kentucky

Kentucky Humane Society

To learn more about TC Performance Horses go here or here.

Beth Kinnane is the community news editor for KnoxTNToday.com.

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