Kentucky first responders help clean up efforts in Mayfield
MAYFIELD, Ky. (WSMV) - It really takes a village to help Mayfield through the devastation and part of that village on Friday included some first responders from Lexington, Kentucky.
Kentucky First Responders, which included police officers and first responders, joined other volunteers working their way through all the rubble in hardest hit Mayfield in Graves County.
“We came down on Wednesday and we’re going to be here through Monday morning,” said Phillip Johnson, who is with the Lexington Police Department and is helping clear debris from homes.
Brandon Gibbs, another Lexington officer helping with cleanup, said he spent time growing up in Graves County, and that his brother lives in the county and was also impacted by the tornado.
“It’s what we’re supposed to do. People need help and we’re perfectly capable of doing so,” said Gibbs. “We understand this is probably some of the worse things they’re going to have to go through in their entire lives. Our main goal here is just to take a little bit of pressure off them and make it a little easier to navigate.”
Both officers, who worked four hours, described that initial feeling when they got to Mayfield.
“It’s kind of shock and awe factor when you start seeing stuff,” said Johnson. “Physical items that people donated like food and canned goods and clothing that we brought down and dropped off at the distribution center. We went and picked up a lot of supplies on the way like tarps and things like that, and we’ve tarped a bunch of people’s houses that we can find.”
“You see all the pictures and all the stuff on the news and the internet, and you think that you can mentally prepare to see this. It’s really sad,” said Gibbs.
The need for help isn’t lost on them. Gibbs said his brother’s home of two years in Graves County got damaged by the tornado.
“The initial call was from my sister saying that my brother’s house had been hit and a few minutes after that my older brother called me and told me his house had been hit and it’s a complete loss,” said Gibbs.
This group of first responders want to make sure they help families in Mayfield, including their family; the men and women in blue.
“Those are people that it could be weeks before they actually get a chance to address the problem that they’re having with their homes, so we try to focus on that if we can,” said Johnson. “We helped one of the school resource officers from one of the high schools down here and clean up some of his debris.”
They’re glad to see the effort to make Mayfield more than a memory.
“When we met about coming down here, before we ever left, we knew it was going to rain and we’re like as long as it’s not thundering and lightning and unsafe, we’ll be out in the rain,” said Johnson.
“It’s very humbling and satisfying to see people in the state and the country coming together to support the small town where I grew up. It’s special, and it kind of shows you that there’s a lot of good people in this world,” said Gibbs.
Gibbs said his brother and his family are OK even though they’re house is gone.
The group Kentucky First Responders partnered with the Fraternal Order of Police in their area. You can donate through the organization’s Facebook page.
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