(House of Representatives - April 21, 2009)

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[Pages H4544-H4547]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office []


  Mr. LYNCH. Mr. Speaker, I move to suspend the rules and agree to the 
resolution (H. Res. 214) recognizing the efforts of the countless 
volunteers who helped the Commonwealth of Kentucky recover from the ice 
storm of January 2009.
  The Clerk read the title of the resolution.
  The text of the resolution is as follows:

                              H. Res. 214

       Whereas the Commonwealth of Kentucky suffered a devastating 
     ice storm on January 26, 2009, that left more than 700,000 
     homes and businesses without electricity;
       Whereas the ice storm is considered the worst natural 
     disaster in Kentucky history;

[[Page H4545]]

       Whereas State and local officials acted quickly to 
     coordinate relief efforts and enlisted volunteer agencies, 
     faith-based groups, and community organizations;
       Whereas volunteers from 25 organizations in 15 States came 
     to the Commonwealth of Kentucky to provide help and support 
     to those affected by the ice storm;
       Whereas volunteers operated 192 shelters for victims of the 
     ice storm, providing 7,884 Kentuckians with shelter, food, 
     and water;
       Whereas more than 378,160 meals and snacks were provided to 
     victims of the ice storm by volunteers;
       Whereas these volunteers played a key role in Kentucky's 
     recovery efforts and gave their valuable time and resources 
     to offer support;
       Whereas 4,600 members of the Kentucky National Guard were 
     activated to assist the citizens of the Commonwealth; and
       Whereas the resolve, courage, and determination shown by 
     the citizens of the Commonwealth was commendable: Now, 
     therefore, be it
       Resolved, That the House of Representatives recognizes the 
     efforts of the countless volunteers who helped the 
     Commonwealth of Kentucky recover from the ice storm of 
     January 2009.

  The SPEAKER pro tempore. Pursuant to the rule, the gentleman from 
Massachusetts (Mr. Lynch) and the gentleman from Utah (Mr. Chaffetz) 
each will control 20 minutes.
  The Chair recognizes the gentleman from Massachusetts.

                             General Leave

  Mr. LYNCH. Mr. Speaker, I ask unanimous consent that all Members may 
have 5 legislative days in which to revise and extend their remarks.
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. Is there objection to the request of the 
gentleman from Massachusetts?
  There was no objection.
  Mr. LYNCH. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.
  As a member of the House Committee on Oversight and Government 
Reform, I join my colleagues in support of House Resolution 214, which 
recognizes the efforts of volunteers from across the country who helped 
the Commonwealth of Kentucky recover from a devastating ice storm in 
January 2009.
  I would like to thank our colleague Mr. Brett Guthrie from Kentucky 
for sponsoring this thoughtful resolution which was introduced on March 
5, 2009. I would also like to commend my colleagues on the House 
Committee on Oversight and Government Reform for acting so quickly to 
bring this measure to the floor. Additionally, this measure has the 
support and cosponsorship of 59 Members of Congress, which of course 
include the entire House delegation from Kentucky.
  As many Americans are aware, the Commonwealth of Kentucky suffered a 
horrendous ice storm on January 26, 2009. More than 700,000 homes and 
businesses were left without power. Sadly, some estimated 200,000 
Americans found themselves without access to water and other basic 
necessities. In fact, the dreadful ice storm that hit a number of 
States in the Midwest in addition to the State of Kentucky back in 
January has been considered the worst natural disaster in Kentucky's 
  As expected, when Americans saw their fellow countrymen in need of 
help and assistance, support poured into the State of Kentucky 
immediately following the storm's devastating effect. For example, 
State and local officials acted quickly to band together in order to 
coordinate the relief efforts and to ultimately save lives. Volunteer 
agencies, faith-based groups and community organizations from 15 States 
came to the aid of Kentucky's cities and neighborhoods, and nearly 200 
makeshift shelters provided refuge for almost 8,000 Kentuckians. While 
certainly tragic in nature, the ice storm once again demonstrated the 
unyielding resolve of Americans to work together to ensure the common 
good of the neighbors.
  Mr. Speaker, it is also important that we as Members of the House of 
Representatives take a moment to recognize the supportive efforts of 
the Kentucky National Guard as some 4,600 guardsmen went door to door 
throughout the affected communities to make certain that no citizen was 
beyond the reach of a helpful hand. For their commitment, we say thank 
you, and for their service, we say a job well done.
  In closing, House Resolution 214 is designed to simply recognize the 
Commonwealth of Kentucky for showing incredible resolve in the face of 
disaster. The selflessness exhibited by volunteers and aid agencies 
speaks volumes about the American spirit.
  That said, Mr. Speaker, as Kentucky and their neighboring Midwestern 
States continue to pick up the pieces, let us take pause to acknowledge 
those who came to the aid of these Americans in their time of need.
  With that, I urge support for House Resolution 214, and I reserve the 
balance of my time.
  Mr. CHAFFETZ. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.
  I rise today in support of House Resolution 214, recognizing the 
efforts of the countless volunteers who helped the Commonwealth of 
Kentucky recover from the ice storm of January 2009.
  This past January, the massive ice storm that devastated States from 
Arkansas to West Virginia hit Kentucky the hardest, leaving more than 
700,000 homes and businesses without electricity. This violent storm 
was Kentucky's worst natural disaster in the State's history as it 
pounded the area with an inch or more of ice, causing trees and power 
lines to fall, forcing Statewide evacuations, schools and businesses to 
close, fuel shortages, as well as causing debris to block more than 
5,000 linear miles of roads following the storm. The ice storm left 
more than 35 people dead, making this the State's most lethal storm in 
memory and one of Kentucky's deadliest modern weather events.
  On January 27, the Kentucky Governor declared a state of emergency 
for roughly 100 counties, all of which President Obama soon after 
declared as Federal disaster areas. The Governor also for the first 
time activated every member of Kentucky's National Guard, dispatching 
all 4,600 guardsmen to assist with the crisis. With around-the-clock 
help from local, State and Federal officials and emergency personnel, 
many working in subzero conditions for days, relief efforts were 
carried out quickly and safely.
  It is important that we recognize the generous support of the many 
volunteers, private and corporate donors, religious groups, and 
charitable organizations that assisted the communities in Kentucky in 
their time of need. This resolution expresses a sincere sympathy for 
the victims of this devastating storm, and recognizes the action of 
their public servants, citizens and community leaders who helped 
hundreds of thousands through this Statewide hardship.
  Once again, we are reminded of the strength of the people of this 
country, and applaud the citizens of Kentucky who in this very 
difficult time became beacons of light for those who suffered as a 
result of this icy disaster.
  Mr. Speaker, I reserve the balance of my time.
  Mr. LYNCH. Mr. Speaker, at this time, I would like to yield 3 minutes 
to the gentleman from Kentucky (Mr. Yarmuth).

                              {time}  1545

  Mr. YARMUTH. I thank the gentleman for yielding.
  Mr. Speaker, I would like to first thank my distinguished colleague 
from Kentucky (Mr. Guthrie) for his leadership in introducing H. Res. 
214 and also the entire Kentucky delegation for supporting this 
important resolution.
  Mr. Speaker, I rise in honor of the thousands of generous and 
dedicated Kentuckians who took action in the wake of the catastrophic 
ice storms that hit the Commonwealth on January 26 of this year.
  In a week's time, all eyes will turn towards my hometown of 
Louisville for the 135th running of the Kentucky Derby, sports' most 
exciting 2 minutes. The mood will be jubilant, and justifiably so, but 
it could not be so if not for the round-the-clock dedication of 
thousands of volunteers, first responders and National Guard who spared 
our region from lasting devastation.
  The storm created the worst power outages in Kentucky history, and of 
the 3,000 streets in Louisville, not one was spared from fallen trees, 
power lines and other wreckage, leaving our city with enough debris to 
fill Cardinal Stadium. Thousands were displaced, but they were not 
alone. Neighbors helped neighbors and people from all walks of life 
rose to the occasion to provide food and shelter to those in need.
  Tragically, a family of three from my community was killed by carbon 
monoxide poisoning from an enclosed generator, a loss mourned by the 

[[Page H4546]]

Commonwealth. But thanks to the efforts of our tireless first 
responders--police, firefighters and National Guard--untold lives were 
saved. These men and women walked in freezing temperatures knocking on 
door after door to ensure that no more families would be subjected to 
toxic fumes.
  Thanks to the leadership of Governor Steve Beshear, Mayor Jerry 
Abramson, Brigadier General John Heltzel, and countless other 
officials, the damage was minimized and attention has now turned to the 
massive cleanup. With 220 men and women working 12-hour days, 7 days a 
week in Louisville alone, more than half a city has been fully 
restored, and the rest is not far behind.
  But it is the unbridled spirit of thousands of volunteers who have 
given us new cause to rejoice in this Derby season, again making our 
Commonwealth great to visit and a place we love to call home. On behalf 
of thousands of Kentuckians who suffered in that tragic storm, and the 
thousands more who helped mitigate that suffering, I urge my colleagues 
to join me in commending the many outstanding individuals who made that 
possible. But while we continue to mourn the losses, we must also 
celebrate a job very well done.
  Mr. CHAFFETZ. Mr. Speaker, I yield as much time as he may consume to 
my distinguished colleague from Kentucky (Mr. Guthrie).
  Mr. GUTHRIE. Mr. Speaker, as the author of House Resolution 214, I am 
proud that we're here today to recognize the efforts of countless 
volunteers who helped the Commonwealth of Kentucky recover from the ice 
storm of January 2009.
  Today I rise to recognize what went well following this terrible 
storm, and that is the volunteers who made a distinct difference in the 
lives of many Kentuckians.
  I traveled across the district in the days following the January 26 
storm, and I was quickly reminded of how the people of Kentucky joined 
together in this time of need to serve each other and not themselves. 
This may have been the worst natural disaster in Kentucky's history, 
but it brought about the best of our people.
  The spirit of volunteerism was seen in county after county and town 
after town as we all united around a common purpose--to help the 
countless citizens affected by this devastating storm cope with the 
aftermath and begin with the recovery process.
  Kentucky State and local officials should be praised for their 
efforts to enlist the help of volunteer agencies, faith-based groups 
and community organizations that quickly realized the needs that 
resulted from the ice storm would far exceed what the government could 
provide. So they asked churches, nonprofit organizations, school groups 
and many others to help, and help they did.
  In the days following the storms, I watched with pride as volunteers 
provided shelter, meals and other valuable services to lend a hand to 
many of the people in my district and around Kentucky. I watched the 
members of the Kentucky National Guard, who were activated to help, and 
volunteer the use of their personal vehicles to rescue stranded 
victims. Many public service officers, police officers, first 
responders, firefighters, and many utility people were out 24 hours a 
day. And I watched 4-H and Homemakers Clubs plan to serve meals to 75 
people but to find the extra resources to serve nearly 200 instead.
  While there are many efforts that should be praised today, I am 
reminded of the effort coordinated in Ohio County by Ms. Charlotte 
Whittaker who volunteered to organize her county's shelter. Within 48 
hours of the storm, Ms. Whittaker opened the doors to a shelter at 
Southern Elementary School where nearly 400 people from 21 months old 
to 98 years old found relief in shelters in the days that followed. 
Nearly 450 volunteers, many young people in high school and college, 
operated the shelter for 12 days by serving meals, cleaning dirty 
laundry, sweeping floors, organizing donated clothing and doing 
whatever needed to be done to help.
  The volunteers came from many different States. I talked with a nurse 
from Alabama and a member of the Red Cross from Indiana and electrical 
crews from across the Southeast, Midwest, and Mid-Atlantic. I 
appreciate all of them traveling to give their valuable time and 
talents. When I visited this shelter, I quickly realized that lives 
were saved because of Ms. Whittaker's efforts and the many others who 
volunteered to help in Ohio County.
  This is just one example of the many endeavors that took place across 
Kentucky. No matter the size of the volunteer efforts, they all made a 
difference in saving lives and helping the Commonwealth of Kentucky get 
back on its feet after this terrible storm. The volunteers played a key 
role and should be praised for giving up their valuable time and 
resources to offer support. They are a true testament to the American 
  I want to thank my colleagues from Kentucky for being extremely 
supportive of this effort in recognizing the volunteers. I want to 
thank my colleague from our great City of Louisville for being here on 
the floor today. And I want to thank everybody who helped our 
Commonwealth recover from this terrible disaster we endured this year.
  I ask for my colleagues' support.
  Mr. CHANDLER. Mr. Speaker, in Kentucky we have a very important 
motto: ``United We Stand, Divided We Fall.'' Not only is it on our 
state seal, but as a battleground state in the Civil War, it has always 
held a special meaning for Kentuckians.
   After the unprecedented ice storms that moved through our state in 
late January 2009, the Commonwealth and its people were put to the 
test. Hundreds of thousands were without power or running water for 
weeks, infrastructure crumbled, and lives were lost.
   Against great odds and in a brave display of humanity and strength, 
Kentuckians stood by one another and proved that together we could 
weather the storm.
   A large debt of gratitude must be paid to the countless unsung, 
volunteer heroes of this storm: the Kentuckians who helped their 
neighbors in need with food, clothing, and shelter; the radio stations 
who pushed aside their regular programming to keep Kentuckians aware of 
the latest developments; the KEMA and FEMA workers who were on the 
front lines; and the volunteers at food pantries across the state whose 
generosity was astounding.
   Our Kentucky National Guard, our local communities, and our 
volunteers from all over the state worked quickly and admirably to 
restore services, provide emergency meals, and clear debris. Through 
the swift support of these volunteers and the prudent leadership of 
Governor Beshear, hundreds if not thousands of lives were saved.
   Truly, Kentuckians are deserving of our state motto as they 
exemplify the courage, leadership, and compassion that bind us together 
in times of need.
   Mr. Speaker, I commend the people of the Commonwealth for yet 
another heroic example of what it means to be a Kentuckian.
  Mr. WHITFIELD. Mr. Speaker, I rise today to pay tribute to the many 
volunteers who rose above and beyond the call of duty in helping their 
fellow Kentuckians following what many consider to be the worst natural 
disaster in the Commonwealth's history.
  In late January, severe ice storms left over 700,000 homes without 
power, countless businesses were crippled and communities across the 
state were left with miles of roads to clear and enormous amounts of 
debris to clean up. The First Congressional District bore the brunt of 
these devastating storms, with many in Western Kentucky being left 
without power for weeks while local officials and utility workers 
labored round the clock to restore electricity.
  While this was an extremely trying time for the First District, it 
also brought out the very best in many of our local leaders and 
ordinary citizens who volunteered their time to help their communities. 
State and local officials acted quickly to coordinate relief efforts 
with various community organizations and faith-based groups. Volunteers 
operated 192 shelters across the Commonwealth, providing shelter, food 
and water to nearly 8,000 Kentuckians. Individuals from 25 
organizations in 15 states traveled to Kentucky to volunteer their time 
in support of relief efforts.
  While the magnitude of the ice storms made recovery efforts more 
difficult and slower in some areas than was hoped, so many people went 
above and beyond the call of duty to ensure that Kentuckians were kept 
safe and that vital supplies were disbursed to those in need. I would 
like to commend all of the local and state officials, utility workers, 
volunteers, members of the Kentucky National Guard and all those who 
contributed to the recovery and relief efforts following the storm. 
During a difficult time that tried all of our spirits, these 
individuals rose to the occasion to aid their fellow Kentuckians and 
help the Commonwealth get back on its feet.

[[Page H4547]]

  While I applaud everyone who worked so hard to help the Commonwealth 
cope and recover, the ice storms highlighted the dire need to make 
federal disaster assistance more effective and efficient following an 
emergency or natural disaster. For this reason, I am a co-sponsor of 
legislation to extend the Federal Emergency Management Agency's (FEMA) 
Public Assistance (PA) Pilot Program. The Public Assistance Pilot 
Program will enable FEMA and local officials to cut through 
bureaucratic red tape and distribute critical funds immediately 
following a storm or natural disaster.
  In addition, while I am pleased that President Obama issued an 
emergency declaration for Kentucky so quickly following the storms, I 
continue to call on FEMA to pay 100 percent of the costs for repair and 
clean-up. Nearly 3 months after these storms hit the Commonwealth, 
debris removal and clean up efforts are still ongoing. With local 
governments in Kentucky already facing significant budget shortfalls 
this year, the additional financial burden imposed by the ice storms is 
simply too much for our counties and towns to bear. It is essential 
that FEMA step up to the plate and ensure that local officials have the 
funds and resources they need to clean up and rebuild.
  I'd like to thank Congressman Brett Guthrie for his leadership in 
bringing this Resolution to the floor today as well as all my fellow 
Members of the Kentucky Congressional Delegation. Too often leaders and 
hard working citizens of our local communities go without recognition 
for the good work they do. It is my privilege to be able to honor all 
those who volunteered their time, donated supplies, worked weekends and 
overtime hours in an effort to restore power and all those who assisted 
in the clean-up following the storms. On behalf of the people of 
Kentucky and all those impacted by the storms, I thank you.
  Mr. ROGERS of Kentucky. Mr. Speaker, I rise to honor the countless 
number of volunteers who made a difference and helped the Commonwealth 
of Kentucky recover from the devastating ice storm of January 2009.
  On January 26, 2009, the Commonwealth of Kentucky suffered a 
catastrophic ice storm that left more than 700,000 homes and businesses 
without electricity and tragically claimed the lives of over 30 
Kentuckians. This is the worst natural disaster in the history of the 
Bluegrass State.
  Together, State and local municipalities organized relief efforts by 
coordinating volunteer agencies, faith-based groups and community 
organizations. This quick action made the difference for the hundreds 
of thousands that were stranded across the Commonwealth.
  Total, volunteers hailed from 25 organizations in 15 States, operated 
192 shelters for victims, distributed more than 378,160 meals, and 
provided 7,884 Kentuckians with shelter, food and water. Furthermore, 
4,600 members of the Kentucky National Guard were activated and helped 
the Bluegrass State recover.
  I also rise to commend the courage of the citizens of Kentucky and 
the bravery and kindness demonstrated from the volunteers who took the 
time to help the Bluegrass State recover from the destructive ice storm 
of 2009.
  Mr. CHAFFETZ. Mr. Speaker, I urge all Members to support the passage 
of House Resolution 214.
  With no additional speakers, I yield back the balance of my time.
  Mr. LYNCH. Mr. Speaker, I join my colleague to ask all of our 
colleagues to join us in supporting Resolution 214 recognizing the 
citizens of Kentucky.
  I yield back the balance of my time.
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. The question is on the motion offered by the 
gentleman from Massachusetts (Mr. Lynch) that the House suspend the 
rules and agree to the resolution, H. Res. 214.
  The question was taken; and (two-thirds being in the affirmative) the 
rules were suspended and the resolution was agreed to.
  A motion to reconsider was laid on the table.