PASCO COUNTY, Fla - On any given day, you can find Mary Katherine Cook in her backyard.

“We had gardens in Kentucky,” Cook said. “Almost everyone has a garden, and I brought it with me to Florida.” 

Memories of her time growing up in Mayfield are what she’s hanging on tight to these days.

“When I’m in the garden, I think of my grandparents and my great uncles and aunts,” who she keeps close by now in a photo album filled with other precious memories of her time in Mayfield.

“I have roots that go back in Mayfield a long time,” she said. “It’s very, very important to me. I love it. A lot of my family is still there.”

Immediately after disaster struck her hometown Friday night, she packed a bag to go help, bringing one important thing with her.

“This is the check that I received from the Land O' Lakes Rotary Club and there’s a very similar message from my local club, Zephyrhills DayBreak as well.” 

She had two checks to bring with her that will go a long way for her beloved community.

She arrived in Mayfield to see the roads she traveled often covered in debris from buildings she often went into. 

“Just walking around its unfathomable. The scope and the magnitude of the disaster,” she said, looking around at what’s left of the downtown area. “The greatest gift I think we can give the community in Mayfield or all the communities in Western Kentucky is support.” 

Cook handed the check to John Carrico, the Mayfield Rotary Club Public Information Officer. 

Carrico, looking at the check, said, “My goodness, this is wonderful. This is service of both self from Rotarians to other Rotarians across this nation.”

The funds will now be used to add to supplies like food, blankets, and clothes for families who no longer have them. 

Cook said residents in Mayfield are strong in their faith. They are quick to help others, even though they are struggling as well. She said residents there are also very humble and grateful to have the help that’s being poured in from all parts of the country. She added that she’s confident her city, her home, will thrive again.