Kentucky National Guardsman remembers March 2nd tornado recovery

Published: Feb. 27, 2017 at 7:08 PM EST
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Preparations for what transpired began early.

"I remember watching the news knowing that, that weather was coming in," 1st Sergeant Michael Dement, 299th Chemical Company with the Kentucky National Guard said.

Dement was working at his civilian job at Morehead State University.

"We were doing some planning on where to stick folks if it hit there," Dement said.

Less than an hour after leaving work, he was called to respond to the damage as a Kentucky National Guardsman.

"Other than some stuff overseas, I've not seen that kind of damage in my life," Dement said.

Even at the time having 10 years of military service, the images were sobering.

"You spend a lot of time in the military training for things and you tend to get stuck in a training mindset and when it comes to doing it for real, in a real life scenario, then it kind of hits home with everybody," Dement said.

As the guardsmen realized they were not training anymore.

"You're actually looking for a victim that might be trapped in a house, you may actually have to recover a dead body," Dement said.

But, it was being there to help, which is what eased the situation for Dement.

"Just to try to help people to calm down a little and be, be something that they can trust, that's, there's no better feeling," Dement said.

Now almost five years later...

"To see it go from that type of destruction to all the new construction here, that kind of thing, that's a that shows the resiliency of the community," Dement said.

Dement said he believes the number of people who died in the tornado was low, due to people watching TV and heeding the warnings.