Eastern Kentucky Flood Instruments

HINDMAN, Ky. — Thirteen days ago, the lives of people in Eastern Kentucky were turned upside down by catastrophic flooding.


What do you want to know

  • Families and communities recover from devastating floods
  • Thirteen days ago, catastrophic flooding rocked eastern Kentucky
  • Jeremy Haney carves and builds instruments
  • Floods destroyed their guitar-making school

Now, with a new week underway, cleanup and recovery continues in Knott County and other area counties, including Hindman where a string music school is recovering the few guitars and other parts that have not been damaged by the flood waters.

“Well, that one is out of tune,” said Jeremy Haney, who works on the guitars.

He spent much of the afternoon removing rust that had formed on the machines he uses to carve stringed instruments.

“This particular place here is where I learned to build guitars,” Haney said.

For just over three years now, Haney and others at the Appalachian School of Luthiery have been creating beautiful wooden instruments.

“And I’m building my first guitar. It was right here, on a bench that’s not there anymore,” Haney said.

Most of the guitars and string instruments were being finished, but are now covered in mud as another team puts the cases outside to dry.

“These aren’t the only guitars you see, there are just a few that they’ll try to get after they find the ones they can salvage,” Haney said.

Jeremy Haney says it’s hard to compare all of his work with his colleague’s flood-damaged work. (Spectrum News 1/Khyati Patel)

These projects have turned into piles of wood, while saving what they can.

“It’s hard to watch, especially when I had worked to build my life here in this community,” Haney said.

He often finds it difficult to maintain hope.

“Part of me says you know, there’s no hope. All is lost. It’s just the tangible part of things that I can see,” Haney said. “The spiritual part of me that knows there’s always hope in a bad situation. It’s always blessings that come from a bad situation [that] tells me that this place will be built bigger and better than it has ever been.

The Appalachian School of Luthiery is also connected to the Troublesome Creek factory which makes the fine stringed instruments. There is also a lot of destruction that the Founders strive to rebuild and repair.



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