'God was with us': Returning to home where family survived Mayfield tornado

Posted at 7:00 PM, Dec 06, 2022
and last updated 2022-12-09 22:42:21-05

MAYFIELD, Ky. (LEX 18) — Going back to where he used to live is hard for 20-year-old Derrick Smith. The house where his family hunkered down in a closet during last December's tornado is gone. Smith had not been back since late last year.

"My home was right here as you can tell – right in front of this pole area," said Smith pointing at an empty lot on North Eighth Street. Not just his lot, but all the other homes on the block were gone, too. "Well over 15 to 18 homes just on this whole block as one."

"I mean it's pretty sad, my mom and some others just came on this property a month ago and they found a shoe from a long time ago," said Smith. "I mean it's sad coming through this way - I hate it for real, I don't like it at all."

LEX 18 met Smith last December after the deadly twister wiped out much of his hometown of Mayfield. He was searching through the debris looking for any personal belongings he could find.

One treasured item remained untouched — a cross on his living room wall. "I feel like God was with us the whole way, telling me and my family it's not your time," said Smith.

He now lives a few blocks away. Smith continues to take a break from college and works at a local retail store to help support his family. He's also set up a GoFundMe.

The past twelve months have not been easy, but Smith has no doubt the holy cross he found after the storm – was no accident.

"I don't know what I want to do," Smith said. "I know God has something good in store for me, so I'm just trying to do everything right."