APRN Kathy Noyes led KANPNM efforts to aid West Kentucky tornado ravaged communities
When the catastrophic tornado events that cut wide and devastating swath across Western Kentucky on December 10-11, 2021, Kathy Noyes was one of the first nurse practitioners to head into the disaster area to help.
Noyes lives in Hebron, Ky., the town that is home to the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky Airport, made her way to west to Mayfield, some 320 miles away. For that first week after the storm, she was the only provider manning a first-aid station at the food and water distribution center at the fairgrounds.
Twenty-two local people lost their lives and hundreds more were injured by the storm as parts of the Graves county community were obliterated by the EF4 tornado. An EF4 tornado has wind speeds between 166 and 200 mph.
Mayfield was particularly hard hit by the tornado as it where storm reached its most ferocious intensity. Radar imagery would later reveal that debris from the city was lifted 30,00 feet into the sky.
Noyes wrote of her time during those first days, saying, "The TV images do not demonstrate the absolute shock and disbelief of the victims of this disaster."
Further complicating care relief efforts was the reality that many provider clinics and pharmacies were destroyed in the storm.
Mayfield, Dawson Springs and Bowling Green had all felt the brunt of the destruction. Now, as people began the difficult tasks of recovery, simply having access to over-the-counter medications and supplies was near impossible. Noyes described running out of cough meds, cold/flu meds, NSAIDS, bandaids, antibiotic ointments and allergy meds at the first-aid station. The other prominent need was for diabetic supplies.
Noyes reached out to KANPNM leaders with reports from area health departments about the community needs that stretched along the 168 mile long path cut by the storm. To facilitate help, the Association set up a West Kentucky Tornado Relief link on the organization website to allow members to contribute so prioritized supplies could be purchased and delivered to the local health departments to make them available in the field as needed.
The KANPNM Tornado Relief project zeroed in on purchasing glucometers, test strips, lancets and prep pads and getting them into the hands where they could do the most good.
As those communities went about their recovery and rebuilding efforts, Noyes worked checked costs and worked with suppliers to stretch the accumulating donated dollars as far as possible.
In early March, she returned to the west to deliver boxes of diabetic testing equipment and supplies to the aid-stations and local health departments.
The Association is grateful for the generosity of its members whose support was critical to the success of this project and to the leadership and unflagging determination of Kathy Noyes, DNP, APRN, FNP-BC, ACNP-BC for spearheading this important outreach to our neighbors in need.
THANK YOU ALL for once again illustrating that "APRNs LEAD" is not merely a slogan, but a mindset and way of life for members of this profession.