Dixie resident rings a bell everyday at 10 a.m.
SALYERSVILLE – Everyday at 10 a.m. Amanda Prater, a long-time resident of Dixie Avenue, rings a bell, honoring her late brother, who passed away from complications with COVID-19, and with a prayer for others.
“I come out here in my backyard at 10 o’clock and ring the bell,” Prater told Mortimer Media Group. “I’ve been ringing it for my brother, Troy, who passed away with this disease, and I’ve decided now I’m going to ring it everyday for Magoffin County. I hope and pray this will bring my loved ones and my friends down on their knees and accept the Lord before it’s too late. I want to meet them all in heaven someday.”
Prater started ringing the bell in her backyard in April, missing only one day to attend her younger brother’s funeral.
Troy Gullett, 77, of Pilgrim, Kentucky, who also had black lung, caught COVID-19 at church from a man who didn’t know he had it.
“This man hugged Troy’s neck and shook his hand,” Prater said. “And he hugged Troy’s wife and shook hands with her, but she never caught it. Everybody else did but Troy’s wife. Even the preacher. That’s how bad it was.”
Three weeks later Gullett became the first COVID-19-related death from Martin County.
“He had started suffering so bad and he asked the doctor to put him on that ventilator,” Prater said. “He said, ‘I can’t breathe,’ and they put him on it. He lasted one day and the next and died in the Pikeville hospital.”
Prater said she asked her sister-in-law how she didn’t catch it, knowing she had slept in the same bed with Troy prior to him going into the hospital.
“She just said, ‘I was too mean,’” Prater laughed. “I looked at her and laughed and said, ‘Well, keep that up.’ She called me this morning and she’s fine.”
Prater said her brother wanted everyone to know he had the virus after he tested positive as a matter of public health, noting that it’s important to let people know to help stop the spread.
Since April, Prater has rung the bell at her Dixie home, missing only one day for Troy’s funeral.
The bell itself has a long history, as well.
“The bell was here when I moved here 40-some years ago,” Prater said. “Alma Frazier’s mom and dad put it up and she used to ring it everyday at 12 o’clock. They would be down over the hill working and when she’d get dinner ready she would come out here and ring this bell.”
She estimates the bell has been on the same pole for 60 or 70 years.
“This bell means a lot to me,” Prater said. “I would look up and say, ‘Troy, this is for you,’ but I’m going to keep ringing it for the lost people. I hope and pray they accept the Lord before it’s too late.”