On Tuesday, Owensboro native and U.S. Army veteran Chris Conley began the first day of Operation Continuing Hope.

Conley, a local storm chaser, Kimberly Clark employee and avid leader in Kentucky’s Run for the Fallen fundraiser; is no stranger to galvanizing the community into not only supporting area veterans, but each other.

The goal of Conley’s one-man mission is to not only support the elderly and special needs citizens of Owensboro and Daviess County in a time when shelves are depleted and each day is uncertain, but galvanize the community into helping their neighbors, he said.

“On Monday, I was sitting at home and was thinking, ‘There is nothing I can do, what can I do?’ ” he said. “I was sitting there and it hit me. I asked anyone that needs anything to hit me up on Facebook.”

His goal is to keep those that are, “deemed high risk for COVID-19 the essentials that they need,” he said.

According to Conley’s Facebook page, message him on Facebook so phone numbers can be exchanged, an address and shopping list can be provided and payment details can be discussed. He will drop the items off with change and the receipt on the person’s porch including a small “Stars and Stripes” in the bag.

The purpose of the small flag is to, “show you how much I care about our country and our way of life,” he said.

For Conley, Operation Continuing Hope is an extension of his duty as a veteran and a continuation of all veteran’s missions to support and protect the country when it is in need, he said.

While Conley is not trying to manage a group, he is hoping that other community members of the area that are not at high risk will be innovative in creating solutions to support each other and those in need, he said.

“For me, we need to keep those at risk out of these stores,” he said. “It is hard on the elderly in these crowds, but I am healthy and I’ll get in there and fight through them. Hopefully, we can get enough people involved in this in some way. As Americans, we need to be doing this. If you are able, you need to be out there supporting people. Anyone can do what I am doing.”

As far as compensation, he only asks for, “a wave and a smile,” he said.

“I’m just trying to put an example out there,” he said. “I hope it will inspire someone else to get out there and help out. If you can inspire at least one person for a day, then that is a victory. I am doing this as one guy and any individual can do it. It all comes down to being neighborly.”

Jacob Mulliken, 270-228-2837, jmulliken@messenger-inquirer.com

Jacob Mulliken, 270-228-2837, jmulliken@messenger-inquirer.com

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