Spencer County family working to rebuild 30 days after EF-1 tornado destroys family farm
SPENCER COUNTY, Ky. (WAVE) - As Chase Harrod walks the grounds of his family farm, his line of sight is filled with warped tin and buildings stripped to their skeletons.
The flattened earth is a reminder of what happened to Harrod’s family on Dec. 11.
Amid Kentucky’s most-deadly tornado outbreak, an EF-1 tornado, packing 95 mile-per-hour winds, touched down directly over the Jones Family Farm on Old Louisville Road.
“Yeah, by the time we put our boots on it was gone,” Harrod said. “It was eerie silent and everything and it was gone.”
In just seconds, the storm pancaked more than one hundred years of hard work.
“I’d say we’re estimating the grand total to be around $750,000 worth of damage,” Harrod said. “You know, four buildings, two large silos and the destruction of hay and cattle just adds up.”
That physical, property damage compounded the emotional burden this family was already carrying.
On Nov. 10, just 30 days before the tornado, Harrod lost his grandmother, Inis Jones to cancer. Jones was the family’s matriarch and someone who took pride in upkeeping the property.
“It was heartbreaking,” Harrod said. “My grandmother always took pride in the buildings and everything and made sure it looked nice. And to just see it all gone, all their hard work, years of labor, the emotional attachments...and to see them gone...we walked around in a daze.”
But that daze only lasted a few hours.
By sunrise, the morning after the tornado swept through, dozens of neighbors were there to help Harrod and his family clean up. They donated equipment and time to help them document what had been lost, demolish what still stood and begin the rebuilding process.
“Without all that help we would be still standing in a circle,” Harrod said. “They offered their equipment and everything to help us clean up and in 11 days it was all cleaned up.”
A caravan of friends and family took 11 days to clean up what had taken decades to construct.
Now in January, the property is still gut, with uncertainty surrounding how it will be built back. Harrod told WAVE 3 News his family has not qualified for FEMA grants or Small Business Administration loans. They have submitted insurance claims, and expect that to cover some of the damage, but not all.
Still, Harrod believes his family will make it through, because of their trust in each other and willingness to keep their three-generation family farm fertile.
“I say we come from a strong family,” Harrod said. “We’ll persevere. We’ll rebuild what we can and we’ll make it through it.”
WAVE 3 News reached out to the Kentucky Department of Agriculture, to see if the state was offering help to families like the Harrods who were affected by Dec. 11′s tornado outbreak. A department spokesperson did not return WAVE 3 News’ message.
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