On the night of Dec. 11, a powerful tornado formed in northwestern Arkansas and carved a path of destruction across the western half of Kentucky, and the University of Kentucky Research and Education Center in Princeton took a direct hit.
Dr. Win Dunwell, extension specialist at the center, checked in on Facebook and said he and his family were not harmed in the storm. By daylight, UKREC employees, led by director Carrie Knott, worked through the weekend, securing and caring for animals, assessing damage and offering support.
Three days after the tornado, the university opened two temporary office buildings and two temporary storage buildings on-site for UKREC personnel.
“The outpouring of community support has been very humbling to us,” Knott said. “We are not closing our doors, but we will look a little different and be a little more fragmented at least for the near future.”
The center, which was established in 1925, underwent a major renovation and addition in 2019.
Numerous counties are dealing with the aftermath of the destructive tornadoes, and the UK Cooperative Extension Service is diligently working with area organizations to meet the needs of tornado victims.
Extension has partnered with the Kentucky Department of Agriculture to offer support for affected ag and hort producers. Here are some of the relief funds, if you wish to donate.
- Kentucky 4-H https://kentucky4hfoundation.org/relief-fund/
- The Kentucky Division of Emergency Management is also accepting donations and relief effort volunteer applications. Individuals can offer to donate supplies or apply to volunteer at https://arcg.is/8aqnO.
- The Kentucky Department of Agriculture has partnered with the Kentucky Farm Bureau to develop a GoFundMe account at https://gofund.me/6855c668.
- UK’s Office of Philanthropy is accepting funds for tornado victims at https://uky.networkforgood.com/causes/9900-cafe-annual-discretion ary-fund. * Individuals may donate to help affected UK students at https://uky.networkforgood.com/causes/10124-basic-needs-and-persistence-fund.
- Win Dunwell also created a GoFundMe to support seven UKREC families who lost their homes. https://gofund.me/e8177270
Individuals may also mail checks with a comment to support UK CAFE Tornado Relief to UK Philanthropy, P.O. Box 23552, Lexington, KY 40523.