DAWSON SPRINGS, Ky. (WFIE) – Dawson Springs Jr./Sr. High School on Eli Street is the largest building standing in Dawson Springs, so when the tornado struck, the building served as a refuge for survivors.
Residents say the center has been life-changing.
“I still have my home, but my sister lost her home and everything in it, and then my best friend was taken out of his trailer mobile home and it took him all the way to American Legion and he was found under rubble,” Dawson Springs resident Susan Orten said. “We just couldn’t ask for people to help us anymore. I’m so grateful.”
Since the night of the storm, people have come from near and far to provide supplies and volunteer their time.
“We were bringing in people that evening for triage, patching them up and getting them out as quickly as we could,” Dawson Springs High School principal, Todd Marshall, said. “We also brought in people that needed to be put somewhere else that were displaced because their homes had been completely destroyed. That’s when it was discussed that this would basically become a hub for materials that the community would need.”
Each room in the school was filled with food, clothing, medical supplies, toys and more.
“To say it was a zoo is probably an understatement, but it was a very good zoo,” Derek Somerville, a volunteer from Georgia, said. “Saw a lot of smiling faces, I think when people came in for relief and they could actually get relief, I mean that both in terms of what they could come out of here with and how they felt, that’s what we were looking for. At any given point in time last week, we had well over 1,000 people coming through that door.”
In preparation for students to return to school, any remaining items will be redistributed to other areas that may need supplies. Volunteers say they won’t quit.
“We’re planning on coming back in February as soon as we figure out what these people need,” Tom Senft, a volunteer from Ohio, said. “We’re heading back to load up supplies and bring them with us.”
“This is just — this is amazing what people have come in and poured in from everywhere, the help, and I just wish the best for everybody,” Orten said.
Students return to the high school on Jan. 18.
The redistribution process will begin this week.
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