Harlan County gets Red Cross office 3 years after fatal blast

HARLAN — Bitter memories of a coal mine explosion that claimed five lives in 2006 spurred a volunteer to push to restore American Red Cross service in Harlan County.

Big Sandy Red Cross officials are opening a satellite office in Harlan County, which has gone more than 20 years without the service.

Robyn Tackett, director of the Big Sandy chapter, told WYMT-TV that a recent push for donations brought in nearly $30,000 to the chapter, helping move the satellite office project forward.

"The people of Eastern Kentucky have stepped up to support the chapter and without that I just don't think that any of this would be a possibility," she said.

Tackett said she hopes to open the Harlan office by May 1.

Harlan County native and Red Cross volunteer Judy Lusk said it was memories of the Darby Mine explosion that prompted her to push to restore Red Cross service to the area.

"It needs to be there," she said. "We never know what we may face tomorrow."