One year later: Dawson Springs family finds hope in community after deadly tornadoes

This weekend will mark one year since deadly tornados ripped through parts of Western Kentucky, killing dozens.
Published: Dec. 8, 2022 at 8:24 PM EST
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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - This weekend will mark one year since deadly tornados ripped through parts of Western Kentucky, killing dozens.

While homes have been rebuilt and physical injuries have healed, there’s still a drastic need for help.

Inside the Life Center at Christ Tabernacle Church in Princeton, Kentucky, volunteers still distribute food to families who lost everything.

Claude and Donna Baird’s home in Dawson Springs was destroyed just down the road in Dawson Springs.

They aren’t sure what would have happened if not for the food pantry that serves all of Caldwell County.

“If it hadn’t been for the food pantry, there’d be a lot of people who’d starve,” Donna Baird said.

As they rebuild everything around them, they’re forced to relive the most terrifying moment of their lives.

“You lay there and hear all the people of Dawson [Springs] screaming, and the rain is pouring down on you, and you’ve lost everything, and you’re thinking oh Lord, please just help us,” Baird recalled.

Baird was in bed with her granddaughter, Lilly, when the bed was sucked out beneath them. She could feel Lilly being blown away before she says God “pulled her back in.”

Her husband, Claude, was walking back to the bedroom when the walls starting coming down.

“It knocked me 20 feet across the living room,” he said.

The Bairds are grateful just to be alive, but this wasn’t part of the plan.

“I don’t care who you are, or how bad you think you are,” Claude said, “when you go through this it makes you feel small.”

Within minutes of speaking with him, it’s easy to tell Claude’s got a big personality; not the type to typically feel small by any means.

However, face down in rainwater, unable to move, unable to hear his wife and granddaughter, that changed him.

As they try to move on, there’s one thing that’s really helped the Bairds close the door on the door on that dark and scary night: Their community.

Christ Tabernacle Church works with Feeding America, Kentucky’s Heartland to ensure that people like the Bairds don’t go hungry or spend unnecessary resources on food.

Pantry director Missie Gill said a story like the Baird’s unfortunately isn’t unique.

“I want [anybody] to walk in here and not feel like they’re being judged for the position they may be in,” Gill said.

The Bairds can’t be more thankful for the help they’ve received.

“Saying thank you is really not enough for what they’ve done for us,” Claude said.

If you’d like to help the food pantry in Princeton assisting people in Caldwell County affected by the tornado, you can connect with them at this link.