WE ARE ONE KENTUCKY FAMILY THIS CHRISTMAS
In light of the tragic aftermath from the severe weather that swept across the Commonwealth last weekend, instead of delivering season’s greetings and wishing you and your family a Merry Christmas, my message takes a different tone. I pray that your Christmas season is filled with love and blessings and you will remember the reason for the season. However, as we all know, many of our fellow Kentuckians are facing unimaginable pain, grief, and loss.
For many, the seasonal festivities that make Christmas so joyful will not be their experience this year. The days, weeks, and months ahead will prove difficult in ways most can never imagine. That is why we must unite as one Kentucky, and work together to bring hope, love, and peace to those who lost so much in a matter of hours. For a great example of our state’s united response, look to the Team Western Kentucky Tornado Relief Fund, which has received millions in contributions to help Kentuckians impacted by severe weather.
Visiting TeamWKYReliefFund.ky.gov will take you to the official site to donate to Kentuckians affected by the devastating tornadoes in Western Kentucky. It is my understanding that Governor Beshear’s office will be coordinating with the Kentucky State Treasurer’s office, which will monitor and manage the fund collected by the site to make sure that the funds get to where they are truly needed. All donations to the fund are tax-deductible. The Kentucky Baptist Convention is also on the ground providing relief assistance to those in need. I would also encourage you to visit kybaptist.org and consider a donation to the group’s disaster relief efforts.
Coming off the heels of the pandemic, many who have been personally impacted are understandably facing challenging times. There is much we can do as a community to ease the pain of the losses suffered. Lend a helping hand at your local shelter or supply distribution center. Consider donating to Toys for Tots to provide Christmas to a child who has been forever affected by this tragedy. Donate blood if you are able and lift your neighbors in prayer.
The devastation experienced in our communities impacted by this natural disaster will weigh heavily on all of us this holiday season. The message brought by our Lord Jesus Christ over 2,000 years ago was to love and help our neighbors, especially those less fortunate than ourselves. Never has it resounded with more meaning and vigor in my lifetime than these past two years. Let us be grateful for the blessings in our lives, including those who are there for us in moments of need —be it family, friends, neighbors, or strangers offering a helping hand. We cannot undo the tragedies that have occurred across the Commonwealth; we can choose to be a positive force for recovery as a united Kentucky.
# # #
Note: Senator Phillip Wheeler (R-Pikeville) represents Kentucky’s 31st Senate District, which includes Elliott, Lawrence, Martin, Morgan, and Pike Counties. Senator Wheeler is vice-chair of the Senate Standing Committee on Economic Development, Tourism, and Labor. He also serves as a member of the Senate Standing Committees on Transportation, Natural Resources and Energy, Judiciary, and State and Local Government. Additionally, he is a member of the Capital Planning Advisory Board.