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Alternative Spring Break

Flagler College Volunteers Reach Out to Cranks Creek Survival Center

Megan Wright

Going to Miami for spring break may sound tempting, but volunteering for the week sounded better to myself and six other women at Flagler College. Alternative Spring Break is just what it sounds like: a different way to utilize the week of time given to students. This year the Director of Student Activities, Tim Mellon, worked with Colleen Turkiewicz, a senior at Flagler, to arrange the trip. While in Cranks, Kentucky the group helped to demolish a restroom deemed unusable, and construct one from the earth up. In addition to construction, the group painted the kitchen where volunteer groups stay, as well as a home where locals can stay to escape domestic and financial troubles.

The area of Cranks, Kentucky was flooded with over 17 feet of rainwater in April of 1977, which took 22 lives and resulted in over $400 million dollars of damage in Kentucky, Virginia, Tennessee and West Virginia. Homes in valleys of the mountain were hit the worst, as those are the lowest points of the area. Families were forced to climb nearby mountains until helicopters could spot them.

In addition, this area of Kentucky has relied on the coal mining industry to serve as the stand-alone source of income for families for nearly two hundred years. Since the flood of 1977, U.S. government has continually moved away from fossil fuels especially coal, in attempt to reduce increasing levels of global warming and climate change. With a majority of families experiencing increasing levels of poverty, it has become virtually impossible for homeowners to repair their current home or relocate. A majority of houses need repairs under $5,000 in cost and that is where the survival center comes in. “It is the least we can do for the community that raised us,” said Bobby Simpson, who founded the survival center with his late wife, Becky Simpson. 

This area of Cranks, Kentucky was flooded with over 17 feet of rainwater in April of 1977