Thirteen first responders were recognized Monday evening for their contributions in helping Eastern Kentucky flood victims.

Heavy rains rushed through the southern part of the Eastern Kentucky region on July 27, causing a historic flash flood emergency. Roads became impassable and trapped hundreds of residents. 

“Initially we were in route to Hazard Thursday morning,” said Jarred Moore, Rowan County Emergency Management director. “We made it to Breathitt County and we were cut off by water where KY 476 and KY 15 meet. So, we just got to work there.”

Moore met up with fellow Rowan Countians that were a part of the Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources Law Enforcement Division. Teams were already on the scene assisting victims.

“There were numerous people in need of assistance, so we immediately went to work there,” Moore said.  “We worked on communication and tried to get that established to let Hazard know our teams could not make it that morning.”

The Route 377 Volunteer Fire Department’s swift water response team remained in Rowan County as a reserve force. Crews had two boats at the ready and began helping downtown Jackson and the Quicksand communities. 

“My first thought was that we need to be there,” said Tim Brett with the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources Law Enforcement Division. “It was a lot of water and a lot of people who needed help. Luckily, we were able to get with some people to help us reach where we needed to go.”

The thirteen individuals from Rowan County forces were able to save over 100 residents. The men were recognized by county officials and Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear on Monday.

The record flooding added to the many disasters the 34-year-old governor has faced in just three years in office.

An Associated Press story published over the weekend saddled Governor Beshear with the “consoler in chief” title after a COVID-19 pandemic, killer tornadoes in the western part of the state and scores killed in the July floods.

Through it all, however, he credited his own consolers. 

“My family,” he said without hesitation. “My wife and my kids and the dog love me. Sometimes, the dog.”