Volunteers lend hope, helping hands to heartbroken western Kentucky

People came to clear debris, cook hot meals, say prayers and give hugs. It all mattered.
Published: Dec. 13, 2021 at 10:42 PM EST
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BOWLING GREEN, Ky. (WXIX) - It’s early in the aftermath of the tornadoes that ripped through western Kentucky on Saturday, but already volunteers were out Monday doing whatever they can to help.

The sound of chainsaws fills the air in Bowling Green, where people like Western Kentucky University graduate Jesse Spencer are doing what they can.

“We’re out in the community just to help, whether that’s clearing debris or just talking to people, just lending our ear to people, just so they know that someone is there,” Spencer said. “So now we’re just clearing trees.”

Spencer was supposed to be dressed in a cap and gown this weekend celebrating his graduation. Instead, he’s busy clearing trees from homes off-campus.

“It’s awesome just to get to come back here again,” he said. “I’ve gotten to meet and see so many awesome people, and just the way the community has come together. I’ve seen a hundred people just back in this area alone, just trying to get brush out of the way, talking and eating together, and that’s why I love Bowling Green so much.”

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Many people in the city won’t have a home to sleep in tonight. That’s where Ann Bolin with New Life Church comes in.

“Tonight we’re out looking for workers and looking for people that are helping other people,” she said. “Like those guys are out here to help, so we’re feeding them. We found a few shut-ins, so we’re feeding them hot meals and drinks and snacks, and we have toiletries and blankets.”

Bolin and others from the church cooked a warm meal for those hardest hit.

“It’s nice to have something hot,” she said. “It’s good to have anything, but something hot just makes you feel like your home isn’t ruined. They don’t have a stove or any way to warm things up.”

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Bolin and Spencer both say it’s about helping your fellow neighbor in their time of need.

“They’re so grateful,” Bolin said. “They’re heartbroken... but when somebody says, ‘Hey we want to pray with you or give you a hug,’ they’re ready.”

Spencer agrees.

“Talking to the homeowners, letting them know that we love them, we care about them and we’re here for them,” he said. “Because we’re experiencing this too, whether our homes got destroyed or not. We’ve had some awesome interactions with homeowners, and they’re very thankful for anything we can do, and we’re thankful they’ve given us the opportunity to do this.”

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