Palm Beach Philanthropist Lois Pope Helps American Humane in Flooded Eastern Kentucky

American Humane truck and trailer donated by Lois Pope
American Humane truck and trailer donated by Lois Pope
Lindsey Kostura, American Humane

Palm Beach resident and philanthropist Lois Pope’s ongoing efforts to support worthy causes made an impact this week in the American Humane nonprofit’s response to Eastern Kentucky’s catastrophic flooding which left dozens of people dead and thousands of residents displaced from their homes.

Pope donated a 50-foot mobile rescue truck and trailer to American Humane that made it possible for the organization’s first responders to get boots on the ground and provide aid to animals and relief organizations in real time.

“Thanks to the compassion of Lois Pope, our dedicated team of first responders was able to answer the urgent call for help and deploy to Eastern Kentucky where they are saving countless animal lives,” American Humane president and CEO Dr. Robin Ganzert said. “With the overwhelming generosity of our great friends like Lois, our Rescue Team is able to help bring relief to the people of Eastern Kentucky who are struggling to provide food and shelter to their pets.”

Home destroyed by Kentucky floods
Home destroyed by Kentucky floodsLindsey Kostura, American Humane

American Humane in Eastern Kentucky

American Humane strategically stationed six rescue trailers across the United States that can deploy its Rescue Team anywhere in the country where disaster strikes within an impressive 24-hour time span.

Each of the large trailers, complete with a Ford F-350 truck, are equipped to hold up to 100 animals and are activated throughout the year, especially during the summer months when wildfires, tornadoes, hurricanes and floods occur all too frequently.

In Kentucky, Breathitt County residents Greg Stivers, his wife and their 11-year-old son were able to save themselves, their dogs and their newborn puppies. The family was at their home when the floodwaters quickly rose.

They acted swiftly, putting the puppies in a cooler to float while they carried their soaking dogs up into the attic crawlspace as the water continued to rush inside their home. The family was able to bring the dogs into the attic and save them, but the flooding never ceased.

Greg Stivers and his dog, safe and sound
Greg Stivers and his dog, safe and soundLindsey Kostura, American Humane

Greg, still barefoot, stepped on a hammer, which sparked quick-thinking action. He picked up the tool from the raging water and busted a hole through the roof, where the family was able to escape. A rescue helicopter was soon hovering overhead, which took the family, but not their dogs.

Immediately after the floodwaters receded, the family ran back to the home and saved the dogs and pups, which were close to heat exhaustion from being in the attic. They rescued their dogs and are now rebuilding together as a family, including their beloved dogs.

When asked about his experience with American Humane, Stivers said, “They came out to check on the animals and they gave us some dog food. They’re really nice people, friendly, and apparently, they really love animals or they wouldn’t be with American Humane. They gave us food, they gave us flea and tick medicine. They really helped us.”

First responders will remain in the Eastern Kentucky area as long as support is needed. Along with the team’s animal rescue efforts, American Humane’s first responders spent the last week delivering critical supplies including pet food, leashes, collars, harnesses and medications to residents affected by the devastation, many of whom are now homeless and unable to care for their animals.

“This is but one of many disasters we will respond to in the coming weeks, and we just can’t thank our supporters enough for helping us fulfill our mission of being the first to serve whenever and wherever animals are in need,” Ganzert said.

Lois Pope and Liberty Belle
Lois Pope and Liberty BelleCarrie Bradburn/CAPEHART

Lois Pope’s Legacy of Giving

The widow of National Enquirer founder Generoso Pope, Jr., now 89-year-old Lois Pope has spearheaded numerous philanthropic initiatives throughout her many years of helping important causes. Among her crowning achievements, Pope established the Lois Pope LIFE Foundation and the Lois Pope LIFE Center, a neurological research facility that came to fruition thanks to her $10 million contribution to the Miller School of Medicine at the University of Miami.

Pope also gave $12 million to the University of Miami’s Bascom Palmer Eye Institute to create the Lois Pope Center for Retinal & Macular Degeneration Research, which is focused on treatments for macular degeneration and retinal diseases.

She has helped support the Florida Philharmonic Orchestra, the Palm Beach Opera and the Armory Art Center in West Palm Beach. Pope has sponsored a clean-water project in Guatemala, summer camp grants for disadvantaged youths, disabled veterans programs, and much more.

American Humane is located at 251 Royal Palm Way, Palm Beach. For more information, visit americanhumane.org.

Learn more about Lois Pope and the Lois Pope LIFE Foundation at life-edu.org.

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