‘I lost everything I had:’ Ceremony marks 10-year anniversary of tornado in Salyersville

On March 2, 2012, so many Kentucky communities were devastated by a historic and deadly tornado outbreak. Ten years later, the damage, the loss, and the fear...
Published: Mar. 2, 2022 at 9:51 PM EST
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SALYERSVILLE, Ky. (WKYT) - On March 2, 2012, so many Kentucky communities were devastated by a historic and deadly tornado outbreak. Ten years later, the damage, the loss, and the fear are still fresh in everyone’s minds.

In those 10 years since, everyone has picked up the pieces, but they haven’t forgotten that fateful night.

“You can’t get over it. You never get over it,” said Gregory Vanderpool, who survived the tornado.

Vanderpool said that day seems like it was yesterday. He still remembers every second of that terrifying night.

“I got down on the ground and covered my head, and all along I kept thinking, ‘it ain’t gonna happen.’ About that time it rumbled again. I felt my trailer come off the ground. Soon it came off the ground, it disintegrated, and I was in the air,” Vanderpool said.

He said he landed about 100 feet from where his home once stood. His arm shattered, but he was alive.

“When that happened, I should have died. I lost everything I had. A brand-new truck upside down, my home was gone. They found my dog the next day on the hill still alive,” Vanderpool said.

It’s hard for him to think about that night. He said he had no intentions of coming to watch as first responders marked the 10-year anniversary of a night they’ll never forget.

“I had no intentions of being here, because I don’t want to bring it up and talk about it. But I can’t, I had to come out here. There are people here that helped me that night,” Vanderpool said.

He’s grateful to be alive and in a community that is so resilient to shine bright in a time of darkness.

“We’re lucky,” Vanderpool said.

Thankfully, nobody died in the tornado that night in Salyersville. While that area was destroyed, downtown itself was spared from significant damage.

In 2016, the city of Salyersville bought two storm shelters for the city and installed three tornado sirens.

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