Romney teen offers aid in the wake of “devastating” Kentucky tornadoes
These are just a handful of words Romney teen Alex Spencer used to describe the conditions in Mayfield, Ky. after the series of shattering tornadoes that ripped through the landscape at the beginning of December.
Starting Dec. 10, a violent tornado made its way across towns in western Kentucky, including the town of Mayfield, resulting in widespread destruction and huge losses for the community.
And Alex Spencer wanted to help.
“What prompted me to go was the loss that the community took,” she explained. “If our county or state went through a devastating storm like that, we would need as much help as possible, so I was just doing my part to try to help.”
Alex, who’s a part of the Hampshire High School FFA program, teamed up with her dad John and Samaritan’s Purse to head to Mayfield to spend a few days helping with cleanup in the aftermath of the storm.
The conditions that Alex found upon arrival were what she called “heart-wrenching.”
“It was literally heartbreaking,” she recalled. “It looked like a war zone.”
She described that during her time in Mayfield, she saw houses that were boarded up with signage reading, “Do not bulldoze,” as well as piles upon piles of trash and debris.
Her group met with a youth pastor at a church that they were helping clean up, and the church itself was completely off its foundation. The church is being rebuilt, and with a new name: “Genesis.”
“’Genesis’ means new beginnings,” Alex remarked. “The youth pastor stated that he feels as if it happened to his church for a reason, so they could have a fresh start with a brand-new church.”
The destruction of the December tornado, paired with the Mayfield community’s desire and drive to rebuild gave Alex a new kind of perspective, she said.
“Most people lost absolutely everything, and the least I could do was give back to them,” she said. “The biggest lesson I learned was humbleness; anything we have can be gone in hours, and there is nothing to do about it.”
She added that it made her really consider the role that “things” play in her life.
“’Things’ can be ripped away from you,” she said. “I guess it really just put into perspective not to be materialistic.”
Immediately following the devastation, the HHS FFA program began asking for donations to go to families who lost everything. They asked for items such as blankets, water, baby supplies, paper items, hygiene necessities, etc. When Alex and her dad headed west to Kentucky, the back of their truck was filled with donated items.
As they were headed back to Romney, Alex updated her Facebook page with an emotional post about what she had the chance to experience.
“I am completely and utterly humbled,” she wrote. “I praise God for the opportunity to come and help restore such a little part of a huge loss. I pray God uses me every single day to expand his kingdom.”