PERRY COUNTY, Ky. — Like clockwork, National Guard Blackhawk helicopters take off from Wendell H. Ford Airport near Hazard. Soldiers have been delivering water to areas that are still hard to reach by land, and search and rescue operations are also underway.

What You Need To Know

  • National Guard helicopter teams are active in Perry County

  • Soldiers are air delivering cases of water and performing rescues

  • Teams arrived in Eastern Kentucky Thursday

  • Donations can be dropped off at Wendell H. Ford Airport 

“We were the first ones in on Thursday morning and we put out two boat teams, two guys in boat teams, guiding them around and taking people off tops of houses,” Colonel Dwayne Lewis said. 

Col. Lewis is one of the Blackhawk pilots. He said the flooding in eastern Kentucky is still very much an active situation.

National Guardsmen load water onto a Blackhawk helicopter near Hazard (Spectrum News 1/Mason Brighton)
National Guardsmen load water onto a Blackhawk helicopter near Hazard, Ky. (Spectrum News 1/Mason Brighton)

“Right now, what we are trying to do is get water to people that don’t have access. So once we get access to them we’ll stop, but right now there are still people out there that need help,” Col. Lewis said.

Inside the airport, a command post has been set up to coordinate flights. This was the place many ended up in after being rescued. By Sunday evening, clothing, food and water were no longer in short supply. 

“When we come back, it’s magically full, and it’s coming from volunteers, so it’s not like a truck is coming in its multiple people coming in and filling that pallet up so it’s stayed full over the last two days so it shows how people want to support and help,” Col. Lewis said.

Woking alongside the National Guard was State Senator Brandon Smith. Smith’s home office is located in Hazard. A helicopter pilot himself, Smith’s assisting on the ground and in the air. Senator Smith describes the soldiers here as heroes. 

“You can’t fake caring about somebody, you can tell these people really are moved by what they are seeing and the willingness to help is I think what drives us, makes us work even harder,” Sen. Smith said.

For people wanting to help in Hazard, Senator Smith said items like generators and large containers of water, clothing and toiletries are all in high demand.