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Legislative Update: Representative Melinda Gibbons Prunty

BELTON, KY—Across the nation, people woke up on Tuesday September 11, 2001, thinking it was going to be just like every other day. That all changed at 8:14 a.m. when the plane struck the first tower of the World Trade Center. Everyone remembers where they were when they heard the news, many of us glued to the TV watching as we learned more and more about a terrorist attack on our nation. We stared in disbelief as another plane hit the second tower, then the Pentagon, and soon we learned of the incredible sacrifice made in a field in rural Shanksville, Pennsylvania.

While we watched, thousands of firefighters, law enforcement officers, paramedics, EMT’s, and other rescue workers hurried to the scene. A total of 1,977 people died that day, 415 of them being first responders who never made it back out.

While they, along with many selfless volunteers from the street, rushed into eminent danger to save as many as they could with no regard for their own safety, giving their lives helping those who could not help themselves, I would like to focus on First Responders in this column. All of their sacrifices on that day will never be forgotten, and it is more important than ever we honor their sacrifice. Even today, those who were at Ground Zero are feeling the effects of what they experienced. Many have been diagnosed with illnesses caused by what they were exposed to.

In the weeks and months that followed, and the task turned from rescue to recovery, first responders from communities around the country, even some from here in Kentucky, helped with efforts at the site.

Twenty-one years later, people still remember what happened that Tuesday morning, whether they lost a family member, they were in New York City that day, they have health-related issues because of what was in the air, or they simply watched from across the country. Without first responders answering the call, many others would have died, and it is important we thank them for answering the call when we needed them the most.

In the last 21 years, America has experienced so much harm and pain, but first responders are always there to lend a helping hand. Across America, we have seen loss like no other through heinous crimes, terrorist attacks, and the COVID-19 pandemic, but answering the plea, running into the face of danger, through unsafe conditions, and overall uncertainty, our first responders have always been there for us.

Being on the front lines of emergencies and crises, first responders are constantly put to the test. Over the past two years, they have endured the COVID-19 pandemic, being the first ones at a scene constantly exposed to the disease. Last December, tragedy struck Western Kentucky when a tornado left destruction in its path, but our first responders were there helping evacuate, rescue, and search through rubble finding survivors. Most recently, tragedy struck Eastern Kentucky, with devastating floods destroying homes, schools, and towns, but the first people there were our first responders and emergency response teams.

Our expressions of appreciation seem inadequate compared to what these men and women have done for not only Kentucky but our entire nation. They heed the request when it is made and are there to help the vulnerable no matter what the reason. Because they were there, parents have gone home to their children and families have been made whole again. We can go about our daily lives knowing our first responders will keep us safe and be there when we cannot help ourselves, and for that we owe a tremendous debt of gratitude.

If you live in Muhlenberg County, be sure to drive by the flag tribute placed on the lawn of The Summer House on the old Martin property at the corner of East Main Cross and Martin St. to remember all lives lost on 9/11/2001. Each flag was hand-placed; each life remembered. It is especially moving at night when lit up.

I was able to attend the Greater Muhlenberg County Chamber meeting this week as well as support New Creation Grace Home, Inc. We heard a summary of the 2023 Strategic Plan for the Chamber presented by Amy Cloud from the KY Chamber in Frankfort. Amy had facilitated the process of strategic planning with the Chamber Board.

At the New Creation Grace Home annual fundraising dinner, we heard testimonies from women who have succeeded in their road to recovery and freedom from addiction. We also heard from other addiction treatment centers here in Muhlenberg County that included TrueNorth Treatment Center in Central City and Set Free Mission Bible Training Center in Greenville. If you or a family member suffer from addiction, hope and help are available close to home. They are all doing great work and can use ongoing support from the community in order to keep doing so.

As always, I welcome your comments and concerns on any issue and can be reached, regardless of if in session or not, through the toll-free message line in Frankfort at-1-800-372-7181, at 502-564-8100, Ext. 59010, or via email at

Please follow me on Facebook @melindagibbonsprunty. You can also keep track of committee meetings and potential legislation by visiting our website at and watch both live and recorded meetings on YouTube at KY LRC Committee Meetings or on Kentucky Educational Television at

Note: Representative Melinda Gibbons Prunty represents the 15th House District. She is Vice-Chair of both the Health & Family Services Committee and the Budget Review Sub-Committee on Health & Family Services. She serves on the Appropriations & Revenue, Education, and Natural Resources & Energy Committees as well as Medicaid Oversight & Advisory and the Kentucky Colon Cancer Screening & Prevention




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