Elburn business owner gives up Florida vacation to help tornado-ravaged Kentucky

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Tara Treve, owner of Massage Tara Bella in Elburn, often travels to Florida over the winter for a “working vacation” to visit clients who have moved to the Sunshine State.

But after the devastating tornadoes that tore through western Kentucky on Dec. 10, she knew she wanted to forgo the Florida trip and instead visit the hard-hit area to help those affected by the storm.

So Treve, who lives in Batavia, and her neighbor Bryan Rosas asked the community for donations of clothing, personal hygiene goods, nonperishable food, bottled water, baby items and more. After receiving enough donations to fill three garages, the pair loaded up a box truck and trailer and hit the road Dec. 27.

“I’ve never seen anything like what happened. It was like another world,” Treve said of what she saw when she and Rosas arrived in Mayfield, Kentucky, which was one of the hardest hit areas. “Most of the downtown area was leveled. A lot of low-income housing was leveled. Driving through, it was devastating. It was unbelievable. The military was out there. People were living under tarps under their buildings.”

Rosas described the destruction as “eerie,” and said it was a “blessing” to be able to help others in need.

“There was so much rubble, the whole downtown area of Mayfield is gone, and some people were camping in their damaged houses with no electricity,” he said. “But I’ve always been one to lend a helping hand, and it feels good to contribute and help someone out.”

Treve and Rosas spent four days in the area bringing their donated goods to churches and area fairgrounds that were being used as distribution centers. While there, they worked with other volunteers to help survivors get the items they needed.

She said the survivors and Mayfield residents were “kind and gracious” for the outpouring of help from volunteers across the country.

“It’s humbling,” Treve said of her experience. “It makes you grateful for everything you have. It feels good to help others. It was complete strangers just coming together. It was a wonderful experience. With everything going on in this world, it kind of restored my faith in humanity. You see a lot of bad, but there are so many good people out there. It’s a reminder that life is good and there are great people.”

Treve was quick to point out that she and Rosas would not have been able to help the tornado victims if it wasn’t for the generosity of the many Kane County residents who donated money and other goods. She got the word out about her trip primarily through social media, and was “amazed” by how many donations they received in less than two weeks.

“The people here are great and everyone was so gracious. People really wanted to give monetary donations and gift cards,” she said. “We are so grateful to our community. We couldn’t have done this without them, and everyone who donated played a huge role in helping those in need.”

source : dailyherald

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