NewsCovering Kentucky


Experts help Kentuckians restore flood-damaged heirlooms

mannering restoring story
Posted at 6:43 PM, Aug 16, 2022
and last updated 2022-08-16 18:50:47-04

LEBURN, Ky. (LEX18) — From property to structures, the losses experienced in eastern Kentucky’s flooding are largely measured in dollars. Yet some of the most important damage can’t be measured at all.

“I think culture is almost as valuable as livelihood,” said Nana Kanerko, a specialist with the Heritage Emergency National Task Force.

From home videos and vinyl records to photos and quilts, Kanerko believes family heirlooms and items are critical in preserving culture. Along with her teammates, she’s offering demonstrations and advice for those recovering flood-damaged items.

“Food and shelter and housing have to come first, but culture, I would argue, is a strong second in that it’s what makes people unique,” explained Kanerko. “This is what brings communities together, and this is what builds people's identities.”

From her station at the Knott County Sportsplex, she transports a photograph from one tub to the next, walking LEX 18 through the restoration process.

“The value of this program is that this allows the survivors to maintain some of the memories that they lost in the disaster, and we’ve had people touched and emotional to be able to salvage that old photograph or their grandma's wedding dress that’s been passed down for generations.”

Spread across the table are basic items like distilled water, a paintbrush, freezer paper, and clothespins. According to Kanerko, restoration is a matter of having the right information and tools, most of which can be bought at a convenience store.

FEMA’s heirloom restoration team won’t handle objects for you but will discuss how to handle, dry, and clean these items, as well as personal safety during the restoration process, setting priorities and treatment options.

“We encourage this to be a family activity,” said Kanerko. “Work with your kids to salvage these things because that becomes part of your family history. It’s absolutely tragic to go through a disaster, but to be able to recover in the best way possible with your family is the one piece of advice I would offer.”

The Heritage Emergency National Task Force experts will visit these locations:

Clay County: Clay County Community Center – 311 Highway 638, Manchester KY 40962

  • Hours 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Aug. 19 to Aug. 20; and 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Aug. 21,
  • Registration center hours are 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily.

Knott County: Knott County Sportsplex – 450 Kenny Champion Loop #8765, Leburn KY 41831

  • Hours are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Aug. 16 to Aug. 20; and 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Aug. 21.

Perry County: Hazard Community College First Federal Center –1 Community Drive, Hazard KY 41701

  • Hours are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Aug. 16 to Aug. 20; and 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Aug. 21.

Recovery center hours are 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 1 p.m. to 7 p.m. on Sunday.