As Kentucky politicians ask the federal government to review its decision last week to deny Franklin County relief for flood-ravaged Bald Knob, one resident plans an appeal straight to President Bush's heart.
Debbie Penn, whose bucolic tobacco farm at 625 Stony Creek Road was torn apart by late August's flash flood, has asked fellow victims for photographs and letters so she can compile a scrapbook showing vividly the flood's devastation. The 45-year-old postal worker wants the scrapbook in the mail Monday for Bush's eyes next week.
"I thought maybe if we could get some pictures of people who were affected by the flood," Penn said, "maybe it would help him change his mind and maybe get him to give us some help down here."
Penn ticks off a long list of losses.
The 12-foot-high bridge that connected her 56-acre farm to Stony Creek Road was swept away as the creek, a Kentucky River tributary, rose violently. Replacing it will cost an estimated $40,000.
Scattered across the surrounding farmland, in trees and creekbeds, are another $250,000-300,000 in tools, lawn mowers, trucks, tractors, trailers, a four-wheeler, a barn, even a horse that drowned.
"We lost everything we had but our house," Penn said. "You take 28 years of accumulating stuff and it's gone in 20 minutes."
Her family also lost most of its five-acre tobacco crop.