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NKY first-responder describes 'unimaginable' destruction in western Kentucky

Midwest Tornadoes
Posted at 7:21 PM, Dec 14, 2021

MAYFIELD, Ky. — Hundreds of people from the Tri-State are in western Kentucky this week, working to help communities impacted by Friday's tornadoes. Storms leveled homes and businesses in several Kentucky counties, resulting in 74 deaths.

Covington Police Lt. Bryan Bogard spent three days in Mayfield with the Fraternal Order of Police, helping local police departments move records to safety from crumbling courthouses.

"I've seen tornadoes, [I've] seen the pictures on Saturday," Bogard said. "We got there Sunday morning and went downtown and I wasn't prepared for it. The destruction and the width of destruction was unimaginable."

Bogard has also been making sure first responders in the area get warm meals from their mobile cooking trailers.

"We're feeding the officers, we're feeding the National Guard personnel that are there," Bogard said. "We're feeding probably between 250 and 300 persons per meal."

One photo of the destruction has gone viral, showing bibles and hymnals untouched in a Mayfield church's pews despite most of the building's roof missing.

"I walked in there yesterday," Bogard said. "The choir, the microphones for the choir are still hanging...it was amazing, I was like, 'Holy cow!' You see that kind of stuff, it just really puts you in awe of Mother Nature and Mother Nature's power."

Not far away, search and rescue experts from Ohio and Indiana continue their work in Dawson Springs, documenting the power of the storm. Indiana's crew is meeting Ohio's group after finishing work at Mayfield's candle factory.

Charities like Matthew 25: Ministries and the American Red Cross get updates from their crews when cell service allows. Ben Williams, Matthew 25: Ministries' director of disaster relief, said they have received an outpouring of support for their efforts.

"Our phone's been ringing off the hook," Williams said. "Our donation door has been lined up to the street basically."

While Bogard is on his way back to Northern Kentucky, he said the work to rebuild will continue long after this week.

"I hope that things happen next week and the week after," Bogard said.

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