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The Johnson County Long-Term Recovery Group (LTRG) recently held a meeting on the Mayo campus of Big Sandy Community and Technical College.

Bobby McCool, chief institutional officer at BSCTC, has served as chair of the group since its inception in 2012. The pilot project, created in the aftermath of tornadoes which swept through the county in March 2012, gained national attention in 2013 when the National Association of Development Organizations named the group as it National Innovation Award recipient.

The Johnson County Long-Term Recovery Group recently held a meeting on the Mayo campus of Big Sandy Community and Technical College. Shown, from left to right, are: Jeannie Kennard, Donna K. Frazier, Gary McClure, Kayla McGinnis, Mike Howell, Bobby McCool and Cathi Blair. The work of the group was expanded through February 2014 through a FEMA grant that was awarded to the Cabinet of Families and Children through the Department of Aging and Living and subcontracted to the Big Sandy Area Development District.

This was an innovative approach to work together and link resources to those who needed help rebuilding their homes and rebuilding their lives after the storm, said McCool. I am very proud of the team we assembled, and I am proud of the work we were able to accomplish.

Brenda Cockerman served as vice chair of the group. Gary McClure, who serves as director of Paintsville/Johnson County Emergency Management, was instrumental in the identifying of resources and those needing assistance, said McCool.

Mike Howell of Big Sandy Community Action was such a great help as they volunteered to act as our 501c3 agency, said McCool. Cathi Blair, Jill Stafford (Christian Appalachian Project) and Deb Massengale (United Methodist Church) were very helpful as well.

Kayla McGinnis was a case manager for the group. She worked directly with families, determined unmet needs and provided them access to community resources.
Kayla worked diligently to make sure the needs of the people were met, McCool added. We couldnt have done any of this without here.

The group, through McGinnis work, has closed out 519 cases. Some of the case highlights include Farmers Market vouchers provided by the University of Kentucky Extension office; more than $2,500 in donations from the American Red Cross, a complete bathroom remodel by LINKS; donation of materials from Christian Appalachian Project; and appliance vouchers from Big Sandy Community Action Program. Other cases were funded through the Long-Term Recovery Group of Johnson County, Catholic Charities of Lexington and Catholic Charities of Louisville.

The group will continue to meet to establish framework and best practices to respond to future disasters. For more information, contact McCool at (606) 886-7385 or email