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Kentucky Tornadoes

Kentucky Tornadoes

Our Response

Late on the evening of December 10, 2021, a violent EF4 tornado slowly made its way across Western Kentucky, producing severe to catastrophic damage in multiple towns. This tornado system crossed eleven counties over almost three hours, covering 165.6 miles. Trees were denuded, vehicles were thrown, and mobile home communities were obliterated. Nothing in its path was safe, including a fire department, water towers, and historic churches. 57 fatalities were confirmed in the tornado.

The Cajun Navy Ground Force began mobilizing less than 48 hours later and arrived on December 12, 2021. SAFE Camp was quickly established in the local Walmart parking lot. With temperatures dipping below freezing, worsened by wind and rain, the need for gloves, socks, hats, heaters, blankets, and hot food became the main focus of our distribution line.

Our Community Caretaking program also began immediately, and every morning, crews gathered under the purple tents for hot coffee and to receive instructions for the day. On one such day, the crew was working in a neighborhood already canvased and cleared by the US Coast Guard four days prior. Because of the massive damage and debris in this neighborhood, our team walked door-to-door, confirming that the homeowner did not need additional assistance. One home on the block had painted shorthand symbols indicating the home was abandoned. They knocked anyway. From inside, they heard a faint cry. Finding the door unlocked and hearing more calls from inside, they entered the home and found a lady in dire need of medical attention. She’d had foot surgery the day before the tornado and survived the storm from her bedroom in the back of the house. When the Coast Guard knocked on her front door, she could not call out loudly enough or make her way to the door quickly enough to be discovered. Over the next few days, she regained a little strength and made her way to the living room in the front of the house. When our team found her, she was almost hypothermic. A member of our medical team quickly determined she needed urgent and immediate care from the closest emergency department. Our team leader loaded her into his vehicle and drove her to the hospital as another team member rode along, holding the survivor as her body convulsed from the cold. We were later told this lady would not have survived another night in her freezing home.

Thankfully, she fully recovered and became part of the Cajun Navy Ground Force family while in Kentucky and beyond. The team leader who drove her to the hospital invited her to join his family in Lafayette, Louisiana, for Christmas. The smile on her face was radiant as she accepted.

Meanwhile, a toy drive was organized for the children of the Mayfield area. Dozens of bicycles and toys were donated, and children were allowed to join us under the Cajun Navy tents to choose gifts. More than one parent had tears in their eyes, knowing their child would have something special under the tree after losing everything. By the time Christmas Day rolled around, all of the toys had been distributed, but a special group of 8 volunteers chose to remain in Mayfield and spend their holiday tarping roofs and spreading cheer.

We remained in the Mayfield area for 5 weeks.

Media Partners

Our media partners are crucial to telling our story and our mission to stabilize aging and other vulnerable citizens living in natural disaster impact zones.

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How You Can Help

Our mission is to stand by disaster survivors impacted by devastating disasters, fostering a sense of stability in people’s lives. However, significant funding is always required to make this possible. Our dedicated effort in the aftermath is creating immense value, and we’re far from done.

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