Covering Kentucky

Feb 5, 2013 5:47 PM

National Weather Service Honors Two Magoffin County Officials For Saving Lives

More than two dozen people died the night of March 2nd, 2012 when tornadoes ripped through Kentucky. One county that suffered millions of dollars in damages was Magoffin, where not a single person died. Tuesday, two heroes who saved many lives that night are being recognized by the Weather Service.

Before the storm hit, Judge Executive Charles "Doc" Hardin and Emergency Manager Mike Wilson were going to help West Liberty when Wilson got a text alert from the NWS, and took steps to start notifying everyone. Hardin was in his truck and said he felt the scary feeling of dead air.

"At that point, I said 'she's coming', and I turned to the right, and I just started warning people," says Hardin.

He drove down Restaurant Road, KY 4620 going door to door. Hardin says he'll never forget what he found in one place.

"There was a little redheaded boy sitting on the counter. It made me mad he wasn't protected," says Hardin. "I said get to safety now, [the manager] said 'to the coolers' for the employees. She put other people in the bathrooms."

Those were the only spots in the restaurants that were spared. It's believed fifty lives were saved that night.

Now both men are being thanked at a national level, each receiving a StormReady Community Hero Award from the National Weather Service for their actions.

"It's shocking and humbling, because all I was doing was doing my job. I didn't think nothing of it, just trying to save lives and keep everyone safe," says Mike Wilson, the Emergency Management Director of Magoffin County.

"March 2nd can be a day of Thanksgiving instead of mourning in Magoffin County," says Hardin.

Also during the special session meeting, Judge Hardin passed a motion to bring a Code Red warning system to the county, so they can warn everyone countywide by phone if there is an emergency. The cost will be covered by a donation from the Tornado Relief Fund.


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