Bowling Green begins to pick up the pieces after deadly tornado

At least 15 people were killed in the December 11, 2021 tornado that struck Bowling Green, Ky.
Published: Dec. 13, 2021 at 2:57 PM EST
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BOWLING GREEN, Ky. (WAVE) - Rescue crews returned to action Monday in Bowling Green after deadly storms. For so many Bowling Green residents, it’s been a surreal few days. When Gentian Emini woke up early Saturday morning his home was falling apart.

“I thought we were going to die,” Emini said. “The building I was living in was completely shaking.”

Emini was with his family, scared for his daughters life. The house they just built was destroyed, just down the road from where we’re staying. As he walked through the area where his house used to be, Emini couldn’t believe what it looked like.

“Dead bodies everywhere,” he explained. “Cars destroyed, apartments houses. I’ve seen movies like this but I never thought in my life I’d experience something like this.”

Among the chaos, the Bowling Green community is left picking up the pieces but they’re doing it together.

“We’re overwhelmed,” said Todd Alcott, the mayor of Bowling Green.

Alcott said there’s been so much support from across the state and across the country.

Down the street from Gentian Emini, Liz Nelson lent a helping hand to a family she had never met. Nelson’s children are helping too, something she’s proud of them for wanting to do.

“I want my kids to be an active participant in society,” Nelson said. “We are not takers in our society. We are givers.”

Further down the street, first responders were debriefed early Monday morning. A search and rescue mission is underway with no telling when it will end.

“They will be out here until they feel the job is done,” said Katie McKee, spokesperson for the Bowling Green Fire Department. “There is no timetable.”

Alcott said there’s been a long list of people trying to help, from volunteers to out-of-town utility companies. Alcott said the city will come back stronger than ever.

“Where we’re standing it’s going to be weeks on end. I say weeks, but it could be longer,” Alcott said, “but we’ll do everything but we’ll do what we can to make it faster.”

Volunteer efforts are also under way. Anyone looking to help in person can sign up at the Old Mall in Bowling Green, near the corner of Nashville Road and Campbell Lane.

If you’d like to help with monetary donations, Mayor Alcott said you can visit United Way of Southern Kentucky’s website.

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