The Madisonville Messenger

In this difficult time, help is coming, and not only from around the state but from across the ocean as well.

Anat Sultan-Dadon, the consulate general of Israel to the Southeast, brought 400 backpacks to Earlington Elementary School for children affected by the recent tornado.

“Israel and the United States enjoy very close relations, and it is important that the strength of these relations is expressed in times of hardship because we are stronger together,” said Sultan-Dadon.

The backpacks are filled with water bottles, snacks, toys, games, notebooks, writing materials, socks, and flashlights. She said whatever they could think of that would bring a smile to the children’s faces and make the day a little less stressful.

She said there are even letters written to the parents from the non-profit Israel Trauma Coalition containing guidance in times of crisis. The letters explain how to identify signs of trauma and suggests courses of action to help children cope with the impact of the tornado.

“That is why we are here to say through this small gesture that we stand with our friends in Kentucky, we stand with those who have been affected, and we are thinking of them,” said Sultan-Dadon.

She said along with the backpacks, a team from the Israeli Humanitarian Organization is on their way to Kentucky.

“They will be teaming up with Team Rubicon here in Kentucky, so U.S. veterans and Israeli military veterans will be working together on the ground to assist those who have been most affected. Clearing debris and starting to help them to prepare them for rebuilding,” said Sultan-Dadon.

Sultan-Dadon said she was glad to be able to assist Hopkins County and wants to thank everyone who allowed the consulate to work on this project.

Someone who helped make the project possible was Congressman James Comer who also visited Earlington Elementary School on Friday.

“We have had a relationship with these guys for a long time, and I really appreciate them stepping up,” he said. “They said they are not going anywhere. They want to keep helping. They want to keep donating.”

Comer came to the school to meet with the communities impacted by the tornado in-person, so no one feels left out and not heard.

“I am trying to make sure that we come to every community that was affected, listen to the needs and see what we can do on a federal level to help and also from a charitable level,” he said.

The tornado impacted 14 communities in seven counties in his district, he said. He wants to make sure the local communities and the local governments both get the support they need.

Comer said he was glad to hear that President Joe Biden announced that communities on the disaster list will get 100% reimbursement from FEMA for debris removal.

“That has never happened before,” he said.

Having already visited Dawson Springs earlier this week, Comer was heading out to visit other communities in the area that had been damaged, including Bremen and Pembroke.