Disaster Relief distributes water to Ashland residents

By Mark Maynard

Published: August 22, 2017

Bonnie Prince leads Kentucky Baptist Disaster Relief efforts in unloading cases of bottled water for residents in Ashland after a water line break left half the city without clean drinking water. (Photo by Mark Maynard)

ASHLAND—The familiar yellow shirts of Kentucky Baptist Disaster Relief team members were like a ray of sunshine to the City of Ashland.

A water main break early in the morning of Aug. 15 had left the city without clean drinking water. The break was bad enough that the fix was expected to take 24 to 48 hours. Cases of bottled water were on hand, but manpower was needed to pass it out.

Enter the Kentucky Disaster Relief workers.

“I live in Ashland so I’d been getting the calls (from the city) so I knew it was going to be a problem,” said Bonnie Prince, a Disaster Relief veteran. “Bill Johnson (who leads the local Disaster Relief team) said he was talking to emergency management (in Boyd County) and said, ‘We’re going to be doing water.’’’

The Disaster Relief workers were a relief for city workers, who were busy trying to fix the broken line.

“This way they don’t have to use their city workers to pass out water,” she said. “We have one of their workers and he’s about beat. He’s been worked to death.”

Prince, who travels to disaster sites wherever she is called, said it’s nice to be able to help out where she lives. “They know we’re available and they know we work,” she said.

Cars were scheduled to pick up water from 6 to 8 p.m. but began showing up at 5:30. Residents waited in a long line of cars, some as much as 45 minutes, to pick up a case of water.

Amanda Clark, a city commissioner in Ashland, was directing traffic in the parking lot of Ashland Community Technical College where the water was being distributed. She was thankful for the Disaster Relief workers’ assistance.

“I think it’s great that many people will come out to help us in this situation,” she said. “We’re a little strapped for manpower.”

Clark said despite some long waits the residents were patient while waiting to receive their case of bottled water. Some even picked up for neighbors, she said.

“That’s the best part about living in a city like this,” Clark said. “People care for each other.” (KT)