BY TERRY FLYNN
The Cincinnati Enquirer
FALMOUTH - ''You're one of our people now,'' Jeff Crouch said Thursday morning to Brian Rock as Mr. Rock and his family prepared to leave downtown Falmouth in their 18-wheeler.
The Rocks had driven all the way from Falmouth, Mass., to deliver a tractor-trailer rig of clothes, bedding, linens, household items and food to the flood-ravaged sister city in Kentucky.
''It's difficult to say how much this means to us,'' said Mr. Crouch, a member of the Falmouth Masonic Orion Lodge 222. ''We thank you from the bottom of our hearts.''
The plan to send the truckload of aid was organized by members of the Masonic lodge in Falmouth, Mass., who learned of the disaster here through news reports.
''I was shocked when I received the telephone call from Massachusetts,'' Mr. Crouch said. ''They had been working on this for a month. The lodge went to a lot of effort to put this together.''
Brian Rock drives for JLine, a trucking company in Providence, R.I., which contracted with the folks in Falmouth, Mass., to bring the items to Kentucky.
''Our children came with us because they were on spring break,'' Loriann Rock said as Brian Jr., and Ashley Millikian climbed from the sleeper section of the truck. ''We felt this would be more educational for them than a vacation.''
The Rocks wore T-shirts which read: ''Falmouth helping Falmouth. Sending a ray of hope to our sister town.''
In addition to the truckload of supplies, the Rocks delivered a scroll signed by several hundred people from Falmouth, Mass., who were involved in either organizing the relief effort or donating to it.
Mr. Crouch said the supplies, which filled a two-car garage, will be distributed through the community as they are needed.
''We have another, smaller truck filled with supplies coming from a (Masonic) lodge in Pennsylvania Saturday morning,'' he said. And Scott Mathias, a member of Masonic Lodge 264 in Burlington who has been working with Falmouth Masons on the relief effort, said a truckload will arrive May 3 from his old hometown of Tower Hill, Ill.
Mr. Mathias emphasized that the Falmouth relief effort is continuing, and help is coming from all over the area. His employer, Continental Pet Technologies Inc. of Florence, matched contributions from employees for a total donation of about $4,000.
''We're here for the community,'' Mr. Crouch, a volunteer firefighter who works for the state highway department, said of the Masons. ''Scott (Mathias) and my brother, Brad, have put in countless hours on this and other projects. And we'll continue to do whatever we can for Falmouth.''