Sergeant Major Lance Nutt is the CEO and Founder of Sheep Dog Impact Assistance. The national nonprofit is headquartered in Rogers and helps first responders and veterans get involved and reengage with their community.
"We're doing our best to help with the recovery efforts in Eastern Kentucky after the severe flooding," said Nutt. "It's bad, We've got members on the ground there that say it's the worst disaster that they've been a part of to date, a small regional disaster, but the way it's impacted those communities has been pretty severe. One of the teams that we have on the ground today is actually doing body recovery. So there are still quite a few bodies that are missing. And you can imagine the devastating impact that has on families."
The CEO and founder said that the plan of action was to rest when they arrived in Kentucky, and then assist with muck work and debris removal. With the volunteers, Sheep Dog sent a tractor, chainsaws, and shovels to assist.
Nutt explained that the work would keep them busy for three to four days, from sun up to sun down. He said they were expecting a total of 40+ personnel assisting through Sheep Dog in Kentucky.
Focusing on helping first responders and veterans, volunteers say they're helping others but also themselves in the process.
Sarah Batulis, a veteran from Fort Smith, said she got involved after a customer at the mechanic shop she worked at informed her about the program. She said that it would help her be a part of the veteran community, assisting her with her PTSD. The deployment to Kentucky was her first volunteer work with Sheep Dog.
"It just helps me by being around other people who've been through the same thing I have, and just giving back to our community, and just trying to help other people who need our help," said Batulis. "I just want to be the best role model I can for my kids. I feel that this is one of the best ways I can do that. To show them that giving is better than receiving and they need to be an active part of their community and help people who need it."
Steve Champlin is an Army veteran, having served in the infantry from 1972 through 1976. Champlin had been with Sheep Dog for a year.
"Having served, it was good to be associated with a group of veterans that were like-minded," said Champlin.
"What we refer to is 'helping is healing'," explained Sergeant Major Nutt. "The opportunity to help others helps you heal from some of your own life's trauma."