LEXINGTON — Stacks of folders, binders, pencils, paper and other school supplies made their way to West Liberty on Monday, thanks to donations from employees of University of Kentucky Albert B. Chandler Hospital, Kentucky Children’s Hospital, UK Good Samaritan Hospital and several other areas of UK HealthCare.
The supplies were delivered nearly five months after deadly tornadoes hit Morgan County, causing homes and businesses to be destroyed and lives to be changed forever.
The supplies will be distributed to Morgan County school students during the “Back to School Bash” sponsored by Morgan County Appalachian Regional Hospital (ARH). During the event, children will fill a drawstring bag with school supplies as well as enjoy free food and have the opportunity to win prizes and participate in activities.
“Usually, this annual event is sponsored by local businesses in Morgan County,” said Bonnie Thornton, volunteer services director for UK HealthCare. “This year is different - the businesses themselves are struggling to get back on their feet. So we decided to step in and partner with Morgan County ARH to make sure the kids in the community have the tools they need for a successful school year.”
For one UK HealthCare employee, helping the students in Morgan County hits especially close to home.
Amberlee Nickell, employee engagement manager at UK HealthCare, grew up in Morgan County and attended West Liberty Elementary, one of the schools destroyed by March’s storms. Nickell’s father went to school in West Liberty, and her mother was a teacher there for more than 30 years.
“To see the community you grew up in and love destroyed by storms - it’s just something that can’t be put into words,” Nickell said. “I am humbled and thankful that our staff would come together to help West Liberty in such an important way. And I know - firsthand - that the community appreciates their love and support with all their heart.”
UK HealthCare employees donate generously several times each year to worthwhile causes. Each Christmas, the staff donates toys for the Circle of Love project, which are distributed to communities across Kentucky for children.
“Our staff works hard every day to serve patients and families from across the Commonwealth,” said Ann Smith,chief administrative officer for UK HealthCare. “On top of that, they are generous by nature, always looking for ways they can support communities above and beyond their job. I am continuously humbled by the generosity of UKHealthCare employees.”