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Kentucky National Guard, Red Cross Provide Hurricane Relief

Staff Sgt. Joshua Horton, U.S. Air National Guard

Eighteen members of the Kentucky Air National Guard are in Texas helping stranded residents in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey. 

The 123rd Special Tactics Squadron out of Louisville specializes in swift-water rescues, confined-space operations, and emergency medical care. 

"The 123rd STS has taken all of it's equipment down, ATVs and inflatable motor boats, to provide search and rescue, and any support as needed," said Major Steve Martin.

Following Hurricane Katrina in 2005, members of the unit established a helicopter landing zone on a highway overpass in New Orleans, helping evacuate nearly 12,000 residents.  The airmen will be in Texas two to three weeks. 

In addition, about 100 members of the Air Guard’s 123rd Contingency Response Group, also from Louisville, will be dispatched to the flood zone in the next 24-48 hours.

Meanwhile, 32 Kentuckians are in Texas volunteering for the American Red Cross.  The relief organization is helping residents displaced by Hurricane Harvey with basic needs like food, clothing, and shelter. 

Trent Ranburger, vice-chair of the South Central Kentucky Red Cross chapter, says all donations will be beneficial.

"A financial contribution is the best route to go," Ranburger told WKU Public Radio.  "The reason being, it allows us to get the money to people immediately to get things like prescriptions and eyeglasses."

Monetary support can be made by going to or by calling 1-800-RED-CROSS.  You can also text the word “Harvey” to 90999 to make an automatic $10 donation. 

The first group of volunteers will stay in Texas about two weeks, but the Red Cross anticipates having a presence there through the end of the year.  Anyone interested in volunteering can sign up at the organization's website.

Lisa is a Scottsville native and WKU alum. She has worked in radio as a news reporter and anchor for 18 years. Prior to joining WKU Public Radio, she most recently worked at WHAS in Louisville and WLAC in Nashville. She has received numerous awards from the Associated Press, including Best Reporter in Kentucky. Many of her stories have been heard on NPR.