Tornado with lightning

Dozens of lives were lost when tornadoes hit dozens of towns, and a local Realtor association’s building suffered major damage as people start to rebuild.

MAYFIELD, Kentucky – The historic series of tornadoes that tore through the South left a highway of destruction in their wake. Many homeowners lost everything, and Realtors have been stepping in to help.

An early theme in helping victims, however, is what to do? Immediate needs – food, shelter, clothes – must be addressed, but with so much loss, programs to address immediate, short-term and long-term needs are just now being formulated. Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear says that assessing the destruction will take weeks.

Realtors – a part of every American community – also felt the impact. In one of the hardest-hit cities, Mayfield, Kentucky, the Mayfield-Graves County Association of Realtors® had significant damage to its building with its roof torn off, though no one was inside at the time. Executive Officer Jensey Blackwood shared a photo of the building on Facebook.

Marsha Case, president of the Central Kentucky Association of Realtors®, lives about 250 miles away from where the tornadoes hit, and has been collecting supplies to take down to the victims. “There’s agents from every office, other brokerages are dropping off – it’s just a team effort,” Case said to RisMedia. “Everyone is trying to do something – every walk of life, just bringing bags and boxes and everything they have that they can possibly get down there.”

“Our hearts are with those impacted by the tornadoes that devastated much of the southern and midwestern United States this weekend,” according to a statement from National Association of Realtors® (NAR) President Leslie Rouda-Smith. “NAR and the Realtors Relief Foundation are working with our partners on the ground – particularly in Kentucky – to determine how we can most effectively help these communities heal and recover.”

Other ways Realtors can help

  • American Red Cross: The American Red Cross continuously collects donations for people impacted by disasters. The Red Cross uses monetary donations to provide essentials like hot meals, hygiene items and shelter to those with the greatest need. Donate online by visiting the American Red Cross website.
  • The United Way has established a U.S. Tornado page focusing on Central United States Tornado Response and Recovery Funds. Currently, they’ve identified four communities within Kentucky, West Tennessee, Missouri and Northeast Arkansas seeking donations and support. Additional communities will be added as damages and relief needs are assessed. 
  • Disaster Recovery Fund of St. Louis: The United Way of Greater St. Louis is collecting donations through their Disaster Recovery Fund to support the long-term recovery needs of community members impacted by the tornadoes. To aid those living in Missouri, visit the United Way of Greater St. Louis website to learn more about online and offline donations.
  • Northeast Arkansas Tornado Recovery Fund: The United Way of Northeast Arkansas established a Tornado Recovery Fund to aid those impacted and devastated by the tornadoes. They partnered with local officials to ensure that all donations are distributed to communities with the greatest need. Donate to the Northeast Arkansas Tornado Recovery Fund by visiting the United Way website.
  • Tennessee Disaster Relief: The United Way of Tennessee is collecting online and offline donations through the Tennessee Disaster Relief fund. They provided a list of counties most in need with links to donate directly to those areas. Donate by visiting the United Way of Tennessee website.
  • United Way of Kentucky: Kentucky’s United Way network is working with emergency management and disaster partners to aid communities and families devastated by the tornados. They’re collecting online donations through the United Way of Kentucky website and asking people to consider rounding up their donations to cover the cost of credit card processing fees.

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Author: kerrys