BREATHITT COUNTY, Ky. (FOX 56 / WKYT) – A natural disaster can destroy many things – homes, property and hope.
Austin Shuck, from the Appalachian Pioneer Program, said he wanted to try to give that back.
“Having had this feeling of helplessness, I was like, ‘Okay, there are a lot of people in my community who have this feeling that they need help,'” said Shuck.
In the spring of 2021, County Breathitt was hit hard when floodwaters ravaged the community. Cathy Salyers saw her house destroyed and soon after her husband passed away.
“We had a music event in March and were able to raise almost $ 7,000 and then it took a long time to get it approved by the IRS and the Secretary of State to be approved as an association to non-profit. As soon as we got this I started talking to Cathy and trying to create an opportunity for us to meet, ”said Shuck.
Shuck presented Salyers with a check for $ 6,550 and pledged to send his college-aged daughter a $ 500 gift card to help cover her expenses.
“I just wanted to let her know that, hey, there are people in your community who care about you and want to be there for you even though you are going through this time of tragedy, like, here is some hope,” Shuck noted.
Shuck said he can relate in some way to what the Salyers went through. In 2012, a tornado destroyed his family’s home and everything they had, but his community rallied around them, and that’s what inspires him today.
“The moment the community was really there for us, I thought to myself that at some point, I was going to pay up front for whatever I had to do,” Shuck said. .
This donation to Salyers is only part of his mission to repay him.
“Maybe by doing this something will happen in your community and you will remember that moment when someone went above and beyond to be there for you and then you can be there for them,” Shuck said. .
An act of kindness that can grow and grow.
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