Thanks for following along with our Kentucky journey! This week we are sharing our stories about our time in Kentucky serving the people affected by the terrible tornadoes in December. Read the Day 1 Recap here!
We woke up for our first day of work and enjoyed a delicious home-cooked breakfast and packed lunches to take to the work site. The team at Eight Days of Hope took good care of their volunteers!
Before heading out, the group started the day with singing, devotions, and announcements to get ready for the day. We were among over 40 new volunteers serving for the day (and around 200 total serving during that time). We were sorted out into our work teams and discovered we would be headed to Benton, a town Northeast of Mayfield.
The family that we served lived in the country on the outskirts of Benton. While the damage was not as widespread as communities like Mayfield or Cambridge Shores, the impact to these families and their homes was severe. During the tornado, our family lost a large portion of their roof which was then followed by rainfall that damaged the interior of their entire home. While they lost mostly everything inside their home, the frame still stood, which will allow them to rebuild. Unfortunately, the home next door appeared to be a total loss.
Due to the water damage, the work we did was called "mucking out" the home, which is not common for tornado disasters (usually there is not enough left to muck out). This work involved removing everything from the house, furniture, fixtures, etc. Most items were completely damaged, but there were a handful of items and fixtures that were able to be salvaged.
Following cleaning out all the items, we began knocking down the sheetrock, removing insulation, and fixtures (counters, cabinets, vanity, shower, toilets, etc.) etc. While a handful of the work was accomplished, we would return the next day to finish up. Mucking out a home is hard work!
There was a lot to reflect on as we sorted through items that were still left behind, picking what was salvageable and not, and considering our own belongings and the difficulty of going through such a tragedy. We were grateful to be a blessing to a family, still trying to wrap their mind around what had happened.
One major issue that came up was that there was still a hole in the roof. Though it was covered with a tarp, there were holes in the tarp and unsecured areas that were still allowing water inside. In the deep of winter, it would be crucial to make sure the water/moisture could stay out to protect the raw wood and allow the house to dry out. At the end of the day, Eight Days of Hope sent a roofing team over to put a new, stronger tarp on the roof, which was not planned to do. It was great to see an organization so willing to step up and meet the needs of the people impacted by this tragedy, and the hundreds of people willing to share their gifts and talents.
Day 2 ended with refreshing showers in a mobile shower unit (surprisingly not a bad experience), a delicious meal served by volunteers, a time of worship, and the longest game of UNO ever, and an entertaining charades game called Rollick. Sleep came a lot easier after a long day of work, which was a good thing for what was in store for Day 3! More on that very soon!