Massive school bus caravan with supplies making way to Kentucky tornado victims


MOREHEAD, Ky. (KT) – Kentucky continues to care for its own in the aftermath of devastating tornadoes in western Kentucky on Dec. 10.

A caravan of 60 school buses, 15 trailers, and five tractor-trailers crammed with toys, school supplies, cleaning supplies, non-perishable food, coats, hats and gloves, backpacks, and much more were making the way to western Kentucky on Monday.

About 30 school districts in eastern Kentucky left from Morehead on Monday morning for the trip westward and were joined by another 42 districts with 120 volunteers around Winchester. Several other districts in central Kentucky will be joining them in a giant display of kindness and goodwill to their neighbors on the other side of the state.

Sam Howard, the owner of Trace Creek Construction in Vanceburg, has helped coordinate the caravan along with Greenup County Schools Superintendent Traysea Moresea, who came up with the idea after learning toys were needed for the children. She brought Howard, well known for his benevolence to Kentucky communities, into the mix and it morphed into something enormous.

The project just kept growing. “I’m afraid to say how many phone calls I’ve made,” Howard said. “It just got bigger and bigger because people wanted to help and do something.”

That included Howard, who has given in the past when fellow Kentuckians were in need.

“Anytime there’s any kind of catastrophe that befalls anywhere in Kentucky, we believe we’ve been told that God expects us to give back from what we’ve earned,” Howard said. “I truly believe that. When the floods went through Owsley, Breathitt, and Lee, we hauled truckloads of water there. We’ve never done a project in these areas. We’re all God’s people and we have to take care of each other.”

Moresea said she notified other superintendents to get other school districts involved. Different schools collected specific items so all areas of need would be covered. Not only does the project deliver aid to those suffering from the effects of a natural disaster, it teaches important lessons to the children participating, she said.

“It gives our kids a chance to learn how to give back,” Moresea said. “They have spent a lot of their time organizing and wrapping presents. And when they give hope to others, it generates hope in their own hearts as well.”

Howard was proud to be part of the project. He said there were more than 60 buses, 30 delivery vehicles with trailers and dozens of SUVs in the caravan that made the trip under blue Kentucky skies.

The items will be taken to a warehouse for unloading and storage and the education cooperatives and youth service centers from the schools will do the distributing, Howard said.

Everything came together in a little more than week, he said. Howard, his wife and eight employees were making the trip to the tornado-torn areas.

“I put Kentucky’s people against any other state in this union,” Howard said. “It’s what the Bible tells us to do. You can never outgive God. It will always come back. I have a saying on the office wall that says ‘If those of us who can won’t, who will?’”