First-hand look into devastating demolition


Drew Hawkins

Drew Hawkin’s inside view of what stood in the path of the tornado.

Drew Hawkins, Staff Writer

One of the most devastating tornadoes on record hit Mayfield, Kentucky late Friday, Dec. 10, 2021. 

The devastation to Mayfield and other towns along its path is much worse than what happened here in Harrisburg during the Leap Day tornado. Entire neighborhoods are flattened, making the city look like a war zone.

According to the National Weather Service, the tornado’s path was 165.7 miles long with winds reaching up to 190 mph while the width of the tornado was over a mile at its widest. To put that into perspective, Harrisburg’s Leap Day Tornado path length was 26.5 miles long.

As a way of giving back, the school came together and raised money during halftime in the Goreville v. Harrisburg basketball game. In five minutes, $1148.21 was raised between both teams’ fans. Not only that money was given though. Principal Scott Dewar and the athletics department both added $1,000 each, making the total $3148.21. The money raised was then sent to Mayfield’s school system.

Being a young, able bodied person, I decided to go with the group from my church to help with clean-up. The day consisted of a 4:30 wake up, then driving to meet at MABC at 5:15. The drive to Mayfield isn’t bad, only about an hour and thirty minutes. There was a short safety meeting at a church where we learned how to stay safe on the job. Once we cleared the debris at a house, we would go to the next with no questions asked. We were going hard until about 4:30 p.m. We ate and then went home. 

Getting to the job, the whole bus was loud right up until we saw the damage. I expected a few houses to be destroyed and some damaged but nothing could compare to going over a hill on the main road and seeing nothing but flattened houses as far as the eye could see. It was almost emotional to have the bus go from talkative and light-hearted to complete quiet. It was as if we were in awe of how the weather could cause such immense damage. 

 It seemed like every time we were off the job, the locals wanted to thank us. We were pretty easy to spot with our safety orange Samaritan’s Purse shirts. The people were so grateful for the assistance they were receiving. 

The hardest part of the trip was seeing a run-down house full of people who didn’t have much to begin with. They spoke Spanish, so there was a bit of a language barrier, but their children spoke both Spanish and English. The tornado had thrown things all across their yard, tearing up their roof, breaking windows, and making a mess of everything. When our group walked to the front of the house after we were done, the mother teared up. There was a crowd of orange shirts. Though there was a difference in the language we spoke, her gratitude to us was obvious. We prayed for her as a group, gave her a Bible that was signed by the whole group  and left for the next job. 

The devastation in Mayfield cannot be described through just a picture. To experience the true damage is life changing. There is still plenty more that needs to be done. There will be for months and years to come. If you or anyone you know is interested in volunteering, visit Samaritan’s Purse or another of the organizations that are still in the area.