LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Cleanup continues nearly two months after the Dec. 10 tornado that destroyed dozens of small towns in western Kentucky.
The storms wiped out Mayfield's downtown and the candle factory that was the city's biggest employer. In the outskirts of town, you can still see damage left behind in the tornado's path. There is siding wrapped around tree branches, large trees are still on the ground and the debris is everywhere.
Some Louisville veterans are doing their part to help.
"It's going to take a long time to get this city back in order because so much was tore down 'cause of the weather and the tornadoes," said Veteran's Club Inc. CEO Jeremy Harrell.
Standing in a pile of cinderblocks where a Baptist church once stood, Harrell said, "the main church was over there where the concrete pad is. This was like the student activities center. It was a pretty big building. Now it's just on the ground."
A church used to be at this location near Mayfield, KY. We’re with some Louisville veterans doing their part to help after a tornado destroyed this church building @WDRBNews pic.twitter.com/IMdo9Kv4Rl— Valerie Chinn WDRB (@ValerieChinn) February 8, 2022
Over two days, 18 members of the Veteran's Club plan to get heavy equipment and skid-loaders to clean up the rubble to make way for rebuilding.
"This is what we're all about. When times are good, it's okay to operate, but we need to kick-in when times are bad," he said.
In the rubble, the veterans have found some items that the church can salvage. "We found some kids' toys. We found some furniture, some small furnishings, a chair, a vacuum cleaner that somehow made it and everything else didn't," said Harrell. The veterans are hoping to save a few more big items for the church like a big smoker and piles of bricks.
"When we came down three days after the original tornado and we saw the destruction, we brought trailer after trailer of immediate needs. But we knew this would be a long-term project. It just hit us really hard," Harrell said. "Being overseas in other countries where we've seen destruction similar-- but not even as bad, really. Baghdad and places in Baghdad that I was wasn't as bad as what Mayfield looked like."
Volunteers from the Veteran's Club also plan to help Mayfield residents in other ways like distributing food and generators.
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