Governor Beshear, Lt. Governor Coleman Distribute Shoes to Displaced Kentuckians

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DAWSON SPRINGS, Ky. — Gov. Andy Beshear and Lt. Gov. Jacqueline Coleman were joined by very special guests Sunday as they handed out shoes to Kentuckians displaced by December 10 storms that devastated parts of the western Kentucky. The governor and lieutenant governor teamed up with University of Kentucky men’s basketball coach John Calipari and Manny Ohonme, president and CEO of Samaritan’s Feet, to distribute shoes to displaced Kentuckians staying at two Kentucky state parks. They were also joined by UK athletics director Mitch Barnhart and former men’s basketball players Darius Miller and Jack Givens.

“We’re all neighbors in Kentucky,” Beshear said. “We love and care for each other. And my commitment to the people of Western Kentucky is that we will not be here just this week or this month, but we will be here every day for as long as it takes to rebuild every building and every life, to bring everyone we can to where they need to be.

“So many people are stepping up in a big way to support our families in Western Kentucky,” Lieutenant Governor Coleman said. “We Kentuckians have courage, but we have compassion in equal measure, and we are really showing up for each other right now. I want to thank all of the volunteers, everyone who donated to our Team Western Kentucky Tornado relief fund, and this morning I especially want to thank Coach Cal and Samaritan’s Feet. Today, Manny, you’re also a Kentuckian.

“I called Manny with Samaritan’s Feet after hearing the Governor say we needed shoes, and Manny rectified the situation within 48 hours,” Coach Calipari said. “I saw the damage on TV and today it’s not that – it’s about the people, that’s what it’s about. Hearing stories today hits the mark. We are all thinking of you, we are praying for you and we will be there for you.

Samaritan’s Feet donated thousands of shoes to Kentuckians affected by the Western Kentucky tornadoes that are hosted in Kentucky State Parks. Governor Beshear and Lieutenant Governor Coleman personally delivered shoes to displaced Kentuckians housed at Lake Barkley State Resort Park in Cadiz and Pennyrile Forest State Resort Park in Dawson Springs. Shoes will also be distributed to those staying at other state resort parks as well as those sheltering elsewhere in the area.

As a young boy, Nigerian Manny Ohonme won a pair of shoes in a contest. The experience inspired him to believe in himself and work hard to achieve his goals. Ohonme ended up receiving a full scholarship to play basketball in America, earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees, and found success in the tech industry when he founded Samaritan’s Feet, a nonprofit that “serves and inspires hope in children by providing shoes as the basis for a spiritual and healthy life.

Volunteers are needed at Kentucky state parks from Christmas Day through the following week. Those who can help should contact Andy Kasitz, assistant director of resort parks for Kentucky State Parks, at 502-418-3581 or by email at [email protected]. Because all housing is needed for people displaced by tornadoes and for first responders, volunteers will need to make their own arrangements for housing.

To contribute to the Team Western Kentucky Tornado Relief Fund, visit https://teamwkyrelieffund.ky.gov/. All donations are tax deductible.

For updates and the latest news regarding the state’s response to the Western Kentucky tornado disaster, visit https://governor.ky.gov/news.

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