February 6, 2009

Ice Storm victim talks about her experience, searches for home.

Click photo to view audio slide show

Sybol Close sits on a bed in her frigid home in Greenville. Without funding to bring her home up to electrical code she will be foreced to move.


On the running track of the fellowship center at First Baptist Church in Greenville, Ky., Sybol Close looks down to the nearly vacated shelter. The 43-year-old’s eyes are bloodshot and full of tears. When the shelter closes Monday she will have nowhere to take the eight energetic children in the next room. Living with Close are her nine year-old son, seven grandchildren under the age of 7, two adult daughters, a son-in-law and another relative. Sybol's thoughts revolve around these children she cares for while their mothers and fathers work in Madisonville. Despite her worries, they are carefree; oblivious to the fact that they have nowhere to go once the shelter closes.

When the matriarch enters the room they swarm, clinging to her and spouting tales of the day as fast as they can. An outsider would never know that the children recently contracted a food-related virus, and have been quarantined from the rest of the families at the shelter. But their virus is just one unrelated chapter in the family’s dilemma.

The family’s home on Trowbridge Street just four blocks from the shelter is like a cave. The slow trickle of water is the only sound resonating from the structure. Close has been without power since last Tuesday after a tree limb destroyed the fuse box and electric meter of the 1940’s home. It is not up to code, and until a new meter and breaker box is installed, the electric company won't hook power up to it. Now, Close "crosses her fingers" in hopes that God will take care of her again. The family survived the tornado that hit Hopkins County one year ago.
"It’s just kinda hard watchin' everything you have just go down the drain”, she said. “It’s scary."

Listen to Sybol and see photos here.


2 comments:

Ed said...

Very, very nice.

Gary Cosby Jr. said...

JP, I like that portrait as much as I like anything of yours I have ever seen. I have followed your work since leaving the Daily and, if anything, I think you are better off photographically speaking even if you might not yet be better off financially. This is just very, very excellent work.
Coz