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Iraq War veteran describes tornado damage as a ‘warzone’

“That is more than what I saw in a combat zone at one time in one place,” Jeremy Harrell said.
Published: Dec. 17, 2021 at 11:58 PM EST|Updated: Dec. 18, 2021 at 12:11 AM EST
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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - The destruction of the Western Kentucky tornadoes has been described as “a warzone” by several people, including combat veterans.

“That is more than what I saw in a combat zone at one time in one place,” Veteran’s Club founder Jeremy Harrell said.

Harrell previously served in Iraq. His group immediately responded to the area after the storms.

“It just really looked like bombs were dropped there,” Harrell described. “Some of the vehicles... where debris had hit the vehicles, it looked like they had been shot up. It was the most bizarre thing ever.”

The Veteran’s Club brought trucks full of supplies to Western Kentucky and helped to deliver water, generators, and cleaning supplies.

Throughout that mission, the sights of American flags in all the rubble left them speechless.

“Everybody in that car was either a Vietnam veteran or a post-9/11 veteran... Iraq, Afghanistan,” he said. “One gentleman that was with us, he couldn’t even really talk about it. And you’re talking about an Afghanistan veteran who has seen a lot. But it’s different when it’s at home.”

Home is where it hit hardest for Harrell. He said you expect these sights overseas, but not in the commonwealth, and not in your home.

“We have this perception that this is our safe place, that these things aren’t going to happen here, that we won’t experience these levels of trauma,” Harrell said. “But we witnessed it.”

His biggest mission is another thing he’s familiar with: the mental and emotional recovery.

“We just hugged for a while, and we just said ‘Hey, we’ll pray for you... here’s our contact information, we’ll try to do everything we can,” Harrell said.

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