May 7, 2010

When flood waters began rising in Central Kentucky, officials at the Rose Terrace Nursing Home decided they didn’t want to wait and see if the water would threaten their residents’ safety. They had to evacuate the 40 residents and their staff – but where?

The Jessamine County office of the Kentucky Cooperative Extension Service offered to temporarily house the nursing home residents and staff until they could safely go back home. Marisa FitzGerald Aull, family and consumer sciences agent, got up early on a Sunday morning and joined her colleagues at the office to see what they could do to help.

“The extension office is a great resource for our community, and we are so thankful we have a facility that can be utilized in many different ways,” she said. “We are proud to be a part of a community that responds so quickly in a time of need.”

FitzGerald Aull and Cathy Weaver, 4H Youth development extension agent, helped emergency response team members locate items in the kitchen and then offered coffee, tea and lemonade to the Rose Terrace residents. They also provided magazines to help residents pass the time and then helped prepare lunch.

“Extension is truly part of the community, through thick and thin,” Weaver said.  “When tough times happen and response is needed, it is great to be able to step up and help out. These are our people, this is our community, and we wouldn’t be anywhere else in Jessamine County’s time of need.”

Nicholasville Utilities Director Tom Calkins said a chain reaction occurred; the Kentucky River swelled, causing Jessamine Creek to swell, and then it all backed up where Town Branch Creek dumps into Jessamine Creek. When Town Branch swelled, the city's storm drains were overwhelmed, resulting in localized flooding.

Robert Amburgey, Jessamine County extension agent for agriculture and natural resources said the County Emergency Response Team, Nicholasville Mayor Russ Meyers and County Judge Executive Neal Cassity’s office worked with Cooperative Extension to make the building available.

I am proud that the Jessamine County Extension Office was able to assist residents of our community,” Amburgey said.  “The flooding that we saw this past weekend and the hardship that it caused a number of our residents created a need for a place that could provide the basics – food, bathrooms and a warm, safe environment.”

Fortunately, the Rose Terrace residents were able to quickly return home the same day, once the flash flood threat subsided.