Dawson Springs - Western Kentucky
By Ruth Schenk
Walls built in Southeast parking lots are stacked in a vacant lot in Dawson Springs, waiting for construction permits.
Thirteen people died in this community when a tornado devastated the town on December 10, 2021. Rebuilding takes time. Houses literally imploded with 200-mph winds that hit about midnight, followed by five hours of rain.
When it was over, people saw vacant fields that used to be rows and rows of homes. Altogether, some 600 homes were leveled by the storm that day.
Landmarks gone, survivors struggled to find which pile of rubble was theirs.
Some houses in Dawson Springs were destroyed. Some were partially wrecked while still others needed repairs.
Staff at CrossRoads Missions, a partner of Southeast, understand the long haul of rebuilding. They moved into Dawson Springs, set up partnerships with local churches and Habitat for Humanity, hired project managers, and scheduled mission trips.
“We’re here for the next three years,” said Curtis Porch, the project manager in Dawson Springs. “All we still need are volunteers.”
Lumber yards and building supply stores are not close to town, so everything must be trucked in.
Michael’s home in Dawson Springs was heavily damaged in the tornado. He now lives in a trailer beside his home, working on rebuilding a bit at a time. He is not a churchgoer, but this storm continues to impact his life. He carried a pistol when he met with Curtis and Habit for Humanity Executive Director Heath Duncan. He left the pistol in the trailer when they met the second time. Soon, he became “best friends” with volunteers and plans to join them on a mission trip.
Habitat for Humanity plans to help renters become home owners. The goal is to build 12 homes this fall, 50 in the next three years.
Dawson Springs struggled before the tornado. Rebuilding won’t make the town the same. They hope it will be better.
If you would like to serve, download the Unleashed App by texting UNLEASHED APP to 733733 and click "Crisis Response," or go to Operation Recovery- Team Leader/Individual Sign Up.