Kentucky flood victim who lost everything still volunteering to help others

Posted at 3:50 PM, Aug 22, 2022
and last updated 2022-08-22 18:14:30-04

HAZARD, Ky. (LEX 18) — When disaster strikes, volunteers always answer the call. That's true in Eastern Kentucky, even when the helpers need a lot of help themselves.

When the water started rising in Perry County, Melissa Miller's first thoughts turned to her parents.

"My Dad's 84," she said. "He didn't really have the strength to try get out in the water, but they were trapped ... you have the worst feeling, definitely. You think the worst."

Her parents were not harmed, but everything they owned, was lost.

"When I walked into their home, it was just a shock," she said. "Mud everywhere... and then I saw them and I was okay. That was all that mattered to me."

For three weeks, Missy's family, friends, and even strangers worked day and night to help her parents clean up.

"We've got their house dry and they can stay in it, so we're doing good," Miller said.

When Missy wasn't cleaning up or at her day job, she's been here at one of four warehouses in Perry County. The Salvation Army is using them to store everything from basic needs to furniture.

Melissa has volunteered for 27 years and now is the director for Hazard.

"It's probably one of the worst things I've ever seen, in my lifetime," she said.

The Salvation Army described Melissa to us as amazing because, in her family's own time of need, she never stopped helping others. And she's quick to deflect the praise.

"There was a little 12-year-old boy... he was only worried about his little niece," Melissa said. "He was giving me a list of everything she needs. And that was wonderful. Big heart."

Just one of many big hearts, making a big difference in a time of need.

Melissa told us that as soon as she retires, she plans to travel to other states when disaster strikes. She said she'd do anything to help other people.