Quick Takes editorial: Columbus firefighter helps after Kentucky floods

Scenes of devastating floods that killed more than three dozen people in eastern and southeastern Kentucky and the ruins left behind testify to the harrowing experience of those who endured these deadly storms and are now left trying to carry on.

In addition to the massive loss of life, about 100 people were still reported missing as of Wednesday, news reports said. Assisting in the search-and-recovery effort was Columbus firefighter Jarrad Mullis, who deployed shortly after the floods with the members of Indiana Task Force 1 on a mission to southeastern Kentucky, the Columbus Fire Department said.

Mullis was among Task Force 1 teams specially trained in top water and swift water rescue who were sent to the disaster zone, the task force said. This demanding work was made even more difficult as the heat index where they were rose past 100 degrees by midweek. By that time, the Associated Press reported more than 1,300 people had been rescued, and crews were still trying to reach some people who remained cut off by floods or mudslides.

“It is so miserable. The humidity is so high, it takes your breath,” Knott County resident Kirsten Gomez said, as AP reported. “Your clothes stick to you. Your hair sticks to you. This mud is caked on you. … But I’m just blessed that we don’t have rain anymore.”

The people of the flood-ravaged regions in Kentucky have been through and continue to go through a terrible time. They will need all manner of assistance in the weeks and months ahead, and we will be called upon to help in any way we can.

We salute our local hero, Jarrad Mullis, for answering the call to help his fellow man at a most urgent hour after disaster struck.

Fair crowds much better than fair

It may not have been what you call a blue-ribbon year attendance-wise for the Bartholomew County 4-H Fair, but crowds were good and officials had no beef with the attendance numbers.

Fair Board President Rick Trimpe said an estimated 100,000 people went to the fair in Columbus during its June 24-July 2 run, a little off from 2021, when about 110,000 people went, The Republic’s Mark Webber reported.

But Trimpe noted that last year’s numbers were a bit of a blip, because in 2021, people were just coming out of the COVID pandemic lockdowns. Last year, people were craving normalcy like some folks crave a corn dog or a funnel cake, so fair attendance was sky-high. Compared to the pre-COVID year of 2019, fair attendance this year was up by about 6,500 people.

Another bit of good news for the Fair Board: midway revenue was up a few thousand dollars over 2021 to $89,035. The fair board collects 10 percent of that money. The return of a rodeo also was a big hit with fairgoers that’s likely to be back next year, Trimpe said.

Next year, the fairgrounds will be getting some long overdue utility improvements — more than $629,000 for new sanitary sewer service, electrical pedestals and water upgrades. This, too, will help the fair remain must-go summer fun drawing big crowds for years to come.

Blood drive incentives show need

Give blood and you could win gas for a year!

That’s not actually the slogan the American Red Cross is using, but it could be. Red Cross is trying anything it can to make up for a shortfall in blood donations, which it said were 20% off in August. Donors now have incentives to give blood, including the chance to win free gas for a year.

During the month of August, blood donors will receive a $10 gift card to the merchant of their choice and be entered automatically for the free-gas-for-a-year sweepstakes, which will go to three winners. The Red Cross said Type-O blood is particularly in need.

If you are able to give blood, make an appointment to donate using the Red Cross Blood donor app, by visiting RedCrossBlood.org, or by calling 800-733-2767.

In addition to prizes, you also just might be a real life saver.