AAHOA Media Advisory: Updates on Recent Tornado Destruction and AAHOA Relief Efforts

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As a follow-up to Sunday’s statement on the destruction caused by tornadoes across the South and Mid West, AAHOA is issuing the following Media Advisory to support further reporting and details on AAHOA relief efforts and the impact on AAHOA Members.

An AAHOA Perspective with Mid South Regional Director Harikrishna (HK) Patel

AAHOA Mid South Regional Director Harikrishna (HK) Patel has been in contact with several AAHOA Members and has mobilized a response team with local Kentucky hoteliers and his Ambassadors. One of the first hoteliers to reach out for help was AAHOA Lifetime Member Paresh Desai of Bowling Green, Kentucky.

“I’ve been in contact with Paresh, who lost everything and is lucky to be alive,” HK said.

One of the tornadoes essentially leveled Desai’s hotel property that he’s had for 20+ years. He lived there with his parents, wife (Mitali Desai), and children, who were all at home when the tornado came sweeping through the town.

“He could literally see the sky from his living room,” HK said. “He shared with me that they had to crawl out of the hotel after the tornado hit.”

HK and other AAHOA volunteers are working with Desai on insurance claims and to provide other assistance to him and his family.

“It’s our duty as a human being to help, whether that be a fellow hotelier or other citizens of Kentucky,” HK added.

HK, his Ambassadors, and a team of other community volunteers are headed to Mayfield, Paducah, and Bowling Green tomorrow to help with relief efforts, including the collection of supplies that are needed for survivors and first responders. They’re collecting and purchasing materials, including first-aid kits, blankets, and other personal care items. AAHOA will be sharing information in the coming days on how to best support the Mid South Region volunteers and get involved, as the situation is still evolving.

If you’re an AAHOA Member or know of a hotelier who has been affected by the tornadoes, please contact Mid South Regional Director Harikrishna (HK) Patel at 937-524-6951 or hk.patel@aahoa.com, or reach out to AAHOA for additional help, assistance, and support.

“If we don’t know you’ve been impacted by the storm, we can’t help, and we have a whole army of AAHOA volunteers and other community leaders who are standing by,” HK said.

AAHOA thanks and applauds HK, his Ambassadors, and the volunteers for their leadership and generosity during this difficult and challenging time. We are grateful that Paresh and Mitali Desai, and their family, are safe and that their lives were spared.

Noteworthy

  • Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear ordered “flags to half-staff in honor of those lost and those suffering from this tornado.” All state office buildings will be lowered to half-staff for one week in honor of the Kentuckians who were killed and/or severely impacted. They should be lowered beginning at sunrise Tuesday, December 14, and remain so until sundown Monday, December 20.
  • AAHOA Members and others in the hospitality industry in Kentucky are encouraged to lower flags to half-staff as well.

How the Industry Can Help

  • To help survivors in Kentucky, you can donate to the Team Western Kentucky Tornado Relief Fund at http://TeamWKYReliefFund.ky.gov.
  • To find a list of trusted organizations that can put your generous contributions to the best possible use, visit National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster.
  • Consider providing emergency shelter to those who are displaced and first responders in affected communities and areas. 
  • AAHOA will be in touch with further information on how to get involved in AAHOA-specific relief efforts.
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