(LEX 18) — Heather Higdon and her husband Chris Lupien are former TV news veterans, so their home delivery of the Sunday New York Times comes as no surprise. The surprise was the picture on this week’s front page.
“Mayfield, Kentucky was the cover story. Never, never thought I’d ever see that,” Higdon said from her Cincinnati home on Monday morning.
Higdon is a native of Graves County, and as you know by now, large portions of the area were destroyed by tornadoes over the weekend. Entire communities were leveled, at least 64 people were killed, and there was an emotional loss. It’s the kind of loss Heather and Chris know all too well.
“I’ve never been more grateful that Mike Taylor (former LEX 18 Assignment Manager) called me in to cover that storm. It was such a blessing that Chris and I were not at the house. Masterson Station was completely ripped up,” Higdon explained.
Heather and Chris were LEX 18 employees in 2004 when that tornado tore through Masterson Station. They were asked to come in off-hours to assist with coverage. Had they not, they’d have been asleep when their home was leveled. They were lucky then, and Heather is feeling lucky today.
“When you look at the enormity of that tornado and the path it had, I just feel so blessed that all of my friends and family are alive,” she said of this weekend’s devastation in western Kentucky.
While she feels blessed for that, other parts of her have been gutted by what happened.
“When you’re from a small town in rural western Kentucky, you feel a connection to literally every neighbor you have,” she said. But Heather’s connection to Mayfield runs even deeper than that.
“I used to ride every other Saturday with my grandmother who was one of the founders of a store called, The Good News Shoppe,” Heather explained. It was a Christian bookstore where she’d help her grandmother with various tasks.
“Some of my greatest memories are with Mabel Higdon, my grandmother, and that commute we would take from Fancy Farm to that old town square,” she said.
The Good News Shoppe was destroyed over the weekend.
“I lost my grandmother in 2018, and it was almost like losing her all over again,” Higdon said.
But one day, hopefully soon, Heather will take solace in something her mother did before the tornado arrived. Her two sons had asked for Bibles for Christmas.
“I told my mother there was only one place where I could purchase those Bibles,” Higdon said.
Heather’s mother went to The Good News Shoppe and purchased two. They’re now in Heather and Chris’s home.
Heather knows how the news cycle works. Soon the coverage in Mayfield will be limited. But she hopes everyone will keep an eye on what the town will eventually become.
“What the world will see when they check back in on this story, is they will see a group of people who have come together and will rise up again,” she said with supreme confidence.
WAYS TO DONATE: For a full list of ways to donate/help click here.
Western Kentucky Tornado Relief Fund
Western KY Red Cross Disaster Relief Fundraiser
Kentucky United Tornado Disaster Relief Telethon
Salvation ArmyGlobal Giving: Midwest US Tornado Relief Fund
Convoy of HopeUK College of Medicine's Kentucky Tornado Relief Fund
Kentucky Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster
Kentucky Baptist Disaster ReliefIslamic Relief USA
Mayfield Graves County Tornado Relief