Kentucky organizations donate close to $1 million to benefit Western Ky. tornado relief

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Published: Oct. 27, 2022 at 8:00 PM EDT
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DAWSON SPRINGS, Ky. (WFIE) - As we near the 11 month anniversary of the deadly December storms, residents of Western Kentucky continue to rebuild their homes.

On Wednesday, the Kentucky Chamber of Commerce and Kentucky Sports Radio were able to present a check to Habitat for Humanity for just over $950,000 to benefit tornado relief.

The event was held in Dawson Springs, a town that was leveled by the tornadoes, and its people left to pick up the pieces in the aftermath.

“It’s always emotional coming around the corner and expecting to see my dad’s shop instead of all of these container buildings,” said Sandra Aiken. Aiken lost her father in the December storms.

Aiken described her father as a man who touched many lives, especially of those in Dawson Springs.

“He had his shop right back there for years and worked on everybody’s car in Dawson Springs,” Aiken said.

After groups cleared the debris from where his home once stood, Sandra and her siblings decided to sell the land. They did so at a minimal cost to the buyer, Habitat for Humanity.

“We’re often finding it hard to serve the really poor, and we may be able to use this property to do just that,” said Heath Duncan, director of the Pennyrile Chapter of Habitat for Humanity.

As the ceremony took place on her father’s former acreage, Aiken couldn’t help but think how her father would feel if he was there.

“It just makes me so proud, and my dad would be proud of this,” Aiken said.

Habitat for Humanity and Louisville-based Crosslands Missions have been working around the clock since the December storms, trying to help communities like Dawson Springs build back strong.

“All of this is just for the community here in Western Kentucky,” said Rob Minton, Founder and Director of Crosslands Missions.

The funds for the donation came from an initiative started by Kentucky Sports Radio. When they were told of what had happened in Western Kentucky, they used their platform to receive donations for those affected.

Officials say donations rained in from around the world.

“What KSR and Kentucky Chamber have done to support that effort, is truly amazing,” Duncan said.

Habitat officials say they average 5 houses a year prior to the storms. They’ve well surpassed that average this year.

“Nobody will be able to tell the story of these homes without talking about how the community and the church got behind them to help make it happen,” Minton said.

For Aiken, the tornado took an irreplaceable part of her life. Even though her father is gone, his memory will always be on Frederick Road, leading the way for the next home to built.

“He loved this community, and the community loved him,” Aiken said.

Habitat for Humanity is hoping to have 12 roofed homes in Dawson Springs by Christmastime.

Duncan says they’re hoping to have a goal of 20 homes for next year.