The Office of the Governor of the State of Kentucky

12/09/2023 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 12/09/2023 15:01

Gov. Beshear Helps Dedicate 10 New Homes for Tornado Survivors in Mayfield and Dawson Springs

Governor also participates in Mayfield's Walk of Remembrance

MAYFIELD / DAWSON SPRINGS, Ky. (Dec. 9, 2023) - As the commonwealth approaches the two-year anniversary of the devastating tornadoes of December 2021 in Western Kentucky, Gov. Andy Beshear today joined local officials and nonprofit leaders to hand over the keys to 10 new homes in Mayfield and Dawson Springs. The Team Western Kentucky Tornado Relief Fund contributed $1 million to support these homes, $100,000 per home.

"Two years ago, we saw unimaginable destruction in Western Kentucky, but we also saw that our people are unbreakable," Gov. Beshear said. "Today, we remember the 81 beloved children of God we lost that night, and we will also come together to help 10 special families move forward with new homes - places they can feel safe and make new memories together after they've been through so much adversity."

More than $21.6 million has been committed from the fund to construct or repair 300 homes. To date, 154 home-building projects are completed, under construction or approved to start construction.

Mayfield Home Dedications
The Governor joined local leaders from the Hope Initiative to hand over the keys to five new homes for tornado survivors in Mayfield.

"On the second anniversary of the tornado we can't help but remember the lives that were lost and the families that were affected," said Pastor Stephen Boyken, president of The Hope Initiative. "But as we pause to recollect, we are also encouraged by the kindness and generosity of so many people throughout the commonwealth of Kentucky and around the nation. Today our hearts are full, and we remain vigilant in our efforts to put the pieces and the people back together. On this day one year ago, we dedicated our first three homes. Today we are dedicating our 25th home, with 20 others under construction and an additional 25 planned. Thanks to funding from the Team Western Kentucky Tornado Relief Fund, we have been able to help more families than we ever thought possible. We appreciate Gov. Beshear and his steadfast commitment to rebuild."

"As a tornado and flood survivor, my family and I are thankful for this home as it brings peace and protection to our lives," said Jennifer Harkness, a new homeowner from Mayfield. "The last couple years have been tough, not only financially but emotionally as well. The opportunity for a forever home will help comfort and bring relief to our family as we continue to heal from our experience. We are grateful to the ones who have donated to make our family and so many others a place to call home after much loss. After all the ultimate luxury is being able to relax and enjoy your home."

While in Mayfield, Gov. Beshear also participated in the city's Walk of Remembrance, in memory of the 81 Kentuckians lost in the storms, including 24 people from Graves County.

Dawson Springs Home Dedications
The Governor joined local leaders from Habitat for Humanity to hand over the keys to five new homes for tornado survivors in Dawson Springs.

"Habitat for Humanity stands at the forefront of tornado recovery, tirelessly constructing not just homes, but also hope and resilience into the very fabric of communities affected by the destructive tornado," said Heath Duncan, Habitat for Humanity Pennyrile Region executive director. "We are grateful to all the organizations that have supported us through this. The Team Western Kentucky Tornado Relief Fund has been an essential component in helping Habitat and other build partners continue rebuilding. We are thankful for Gov. Beshear and his leadership in making this funding accessible."

New homeowner Matalie Fain said, "I feel so blessed to have my forever home."

"Words cannot express how grateful I am for what Habitat has done for myself and the whole community of Dawson," Abigail Parker, another new homeowner, said. "I am so grateful to have had Habitat for Humanity help me to get back to a place that feels like home after the tornado of 2021. Everyone I came into contact with through Habitat has been beyond generous and kind. It has been a pleasure going through this process with them. I am so thankful and blessed."

Team Western Kentucky Tornado Relief Fund and Western Kentucky SAFE Fund
The Beshear administration has secured more than $800 million in state and federal funds for recovery and rebuilding in Western Kentucky.

Launched just days after the tornadoes in December 2021, the Team Western Kentucky Tornado Relief Fund has raised over $52.3 million, with donations from over 150,000 individuals and businesses. The money raised helped pay funeral expenses for the families of the deceased and provided assistance to survivors as well as local farmers. The remaining funds will be used to build houses. For more information and to donate, click here.

The Governor thanked nonprofit building partners, including The Hope Initiative, Habitat for Humanity, Homes & Hope for Kentucky, Fuller Center Disaster ReBuilders, the Mayfield/Graves Fuller Center for Housing and the Mayfield/Graves Long-Term Recovery Group, for their efforts and partnership.

In April 2022, through nonpartisan work with the General Assembly, Gov. Beshear also established the $120 million Western Kentucky State Aid Funding for Emergencies, or SAFE, Fund to assist with tornado recovery.