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'This is absolutely wild': Views of Mayfield from above as recovery continues

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Posted at 6:40 PM, Jan 10, 2022
and last updated 2022-01-10 19:28:19-05

MAYFIELD, Ky. (LEX 18) — It's been about a month since deadly tornadoes hit western Kentucky.

To see how the area is doing now, the Kentucky Army National Guard took LEX18 reporter Kristen Edwards and photographer Brian Stahl up in a UH 60 Black Hawk helicopter.

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Dozens of miles East of Mayfield, they could already see evidence of the powerful EF-4 tornado that tore through the area in December.

"There's debris all throughout this forest here," one soldier said while looking at the devastation. "That is absolutely wild."

There were thousands of uprooted trees and countless structures ripped apart. While some homes dodged the worst of it, others weren't so lucky.

"Just incredible to see this house completely destroyed, and then like a block over, minor damage," another soldier said.

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While circling above Mayfield, it's a sea of blue down below. There are dozens of tarps where roofs once were.

At the candle factory, a site of so much suffering and loss where eight people died, is now a nearly empty lot.

On the ground at the local fairgrounds, donations continue to flood in for victims.

"It's coming from all over the place," Kentucky Army National Guard Staff Sgt. Stephen McCreary said.

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He added that the KY National Guard is taking in multiple truckloads full of items daily, and so are private citizens who are volunteering.

Once collected, soldiers categorize donations by type. Once sorted, they head to a distribution center where tornado victims can pick up whatever they need.

"It's overwhelming a little bit to see how many people out there care and are willing to help out these people," McCreary said.

It's a community effort to keep it all running smoothly and help make sure those who have lost so much know they are not forgotten.

Mayfield warehouse manager, Courtney Harger, said there is a severe need for electric heaters and blankets for tornado victims right now.

She also provided a list of their most-needed items:

  • dishwashing liquid
  • laundry detergent
  • towels
  • washcloths
  • dish towels
  • cookware
  • hot plates
  • camp stoves
  • condiments
  • shampoo & conditioner
  • body wash
  • full-size deodorant
  • pillows & bedding sets
  • fuel cards
  • instant mashed potatoes
  • breakfast food, such as Poptarts
  • size 3-4t+ training pants like Pull-Ups

For other ways to help, including donating money, click here.