Dawson Springs, Ky. — December 2021 Tornado Recovery

Dawson Springs following the tornado. Photo by NWS Paducah from wikimedia.com

All volunteers will be expected to observe and adhere to the BDM Health Safety and Illness Policy for serving on a rebuilding site.

On Dec. 10-11, 2021, a devastating outbreak of 61 confirmed tornados swept through eight states with Kentucky, Illinois, and Missouri being the most impacted. Two extraordinary storms traveled over 100 miles each, producing tornados along the way, making it the largest outbreak of tornados in December on record and, with 90 confirmed deaths, the deadliest. The resulting destruction leveled whole towns, but also caused much damage along the 250-mile paths of the storms.

From 24 counties in Kentucky alone, over 15,000 applications were completed for requests for assistance from FEMA. Estimates are that around 75 percent of the town of Dawson Springs was leveled, which was home to around 2,500 people. Over 650 of the 1,200 housing units in the town were lost. There were 15 deaths in Dawson Springs, ranging in age from five months to 75 years.

A BDM rebuilding site opened in January 2023 to serve in Dawson Springs, Ky. BDM volunteers are currently housed at the Habitat for Humanity Pennyrile Region property located in Madisonville, Ky. Work will continue there until the end of June 2024.

BDM will serve qualified families identified by several local partners including the Hopkins County Long-Term Recovery Group, Habitat for Humanity Pennyrile Region (Habitat), and possible other partners.

For more details on what this project is like check out these videos, and please share them with others that are interested in serving.

Media Coverage and Videos of the Tornado and Aftermath

Find the most up to date schedule here.

Housing

Volunteer housing is located at the Habitat for Humanity Pennyrile Region property. Dining and the common gathering area is located on the second floor mezzanine. Some sleeping areas are on the ground floor with other sleeping on the second floor. Project leaders will be housed in travel trailers on the property. Job sites will be 25-30 minutes’ drive away.
Habitat For Humanity Pennyrile Region
43 S Daves St, Madisonville, KY 42431

Mailing address

Habitat For Humanity Pennyrile Region
ATTN: BDM/recipient name
43 S Daves St,
Madisonville, KY 42431

Contact

Email: BDMdawsonspringsky@gmail.com

Meals

Meals are prepared in the facility kitchen. Volunteer groups are asked to include an assistant household leader/cook. Volunteers will be asked to help with kitchen cleanup.

Work

The type of work in Dawson Springs will be primarily building new homes to replace previous homes and residences that were destroyed or blown away in the tornado. This will include all phases of new builds from framing to finishing and your work will depend on the current stage of the homes we are working on. Tools, vehicles, and leadership are provided.

Travel

Groups must send registration forms and mode of travel plans to BDMdawsonspringsky@gmail.com  at least 2 weeks prior to your scheduled trip.

Upon arrival, BDM Project Leaders will welcome you and collect any incomplete paperwork. They will orient you to the project, covering such topics as house rules, work schedule, safety, tools, daily devotions, expectations, etc. Orientation does not begin until all participants arrive.

Driving

Arrival time for volunteers on Sunday evening will be between 6:00 pm and 6:30 pm with volunteer groups having eaten supper BEFORE arrival at the housing facility. We recommend that you enjoy one of the many dining options along your route, or in Madisonville before arriving at the housing facility.

Driving directions:

Driving directions can be obtained by reaching out to the BDM office.

Overnight Housing Options

We have identified some overnight housing options for those traveling from the East that would like to break up daily travel times to this project. If interested, please contact Kim at the BDM office for information – kgingerich@brethren.org.

Flying

The closest airport is Evansville Regional Airport, located in Evansville, IN, around 1 hr away. Please provide flight itineraries for each person flying.

Plan to arrive or be picked up on Sunday between 4:00 and 5:00pm. Project leaders can do one airport run between these hours only if needed. Please try to coordinate all members of the group to arrive at or near the same time. Groups flying into any other airport will need to find their own transportation to the project site.