Resilience and faith run deep in this Kentucky community.
Sunday service at Mayfield’s First Baptist Church begins at 11 am. Today, for a congregation that is still standing, it was.
But outside the chapel, the city’s core is a slum Destroyed businesses, homes, and lives.
They’re picking up the slack in every crevice. An incredible amount of energy was whipped up by the twister.
Previously built brick structures were torn from their bases. Iron and steel mills are twisted shambles.
I met Elyce Ray at 6th and North. It was just too much for her.
“I’ve been around town a couple of times and seen everything. Were you aware that the city you grew up in and all of your memories are gone?
We’re next to her local law firm. She identifies the boss. Former office worker David Hargrove stands beside a desk. No dividers and no roof now.
We find him with a brave look on his face, trying to arrange the violin for him.
“You must grin or weep. I’ve had enough tears. You know, we’re just trying to get cleaned up and get moving as best we can. Clearly, we’re not unique. Nothing like this has ever occurred right here.”
Even the remaining structures have lost their roofs. The old courthouse’s tower collapsed. It caved in, destroying most of the city’s landmarks.
Jim and Sarah Palmer, father and daughter, stood by it. They all looked tired and hazy.
It pains Sarah since she has lived here all her life and has seen everything destroyed.
Jim, her father, believes they will return, bigger and better than ever.
In the city, the twister cut a route
It’s a blast to go around town. The pictures and video don’t seem to capture the full extent of the injuries.
So much devastation may happen block after block. It will be a long time before they recover.
That twister passed through in the midst of it all.
Immediately after a day off, Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear came back to promise support and funds.
We’ve lost many lives, he said.
Survivors sought in the area
In his words, “We’re looking out for one another, and we’ll support anybody who needs it.” “We share our homes.” We’ll feed them and restore their homes. We’ll make it, but we’ll miss you.”
We’ll see how long it takes him to restore his promise, and how much it costs.
Politics quickly re-emerges in such places. The country is split. With just 0.37 percent of the vote, Beshear won the governorship in 2019.
Trump won the state with 62% of the vote last year. Joe Biden only got 36%.
Federal authorities must declare Kentucky’s aftermath a major disaster, according to
This twister’s toll on lives is seen just outside the city.
They’ve been searching for survivors for two days and nights in the city’s candle factory, where over 100 people worked Friday night. The excellent news is becoming less and less often.
Religion carries them back to the church, but they may need more here.
Biden has promised aid. But, albeit, there isn’t much right now. It’s a local fight.