DAWSON SPRINGS, Ky. (WEHT) – Nearly two years after their home was destroyed in the December 2021 tornado, Eliza Watts, her fiancé Zach Russell and their two children have a brand new home.
“I’m just, I’m in love,” says Watts. “It’s small, simple just like we like, you know.”
The family’s home was blown 10 feet off its foundation during the storm as the four stayed safe in an underground shelter. Watts and Russell spent months living in temporary housing, but didn’t stop helping their neighbors rebuild.
“We lost everything. There’s nothing we can do, so we got to help everybody else,” says Watts.
Their home dedication was the culmination of a chance occurrence. Watts had taken a job on a cattle farm in the months following the tornado when she ran into a Fuller Center employee assisting in recovery across Hopkins County.
“He stopped in and was needing some hay for an elderly lady that was next door to where they were building a house at,” recalls Watts. “We ended up donating a bunch of hay to them and that’s how this house got called the hay house. And it bloomed from there.” Watts adds, “It was God’s way of saying he’s got this, you know. Every bit of it is he’s got this.”
Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear was also on-hand to help dedicate the new home.
“Every home that we build is another family that’s under roof, is another family that went through the worst of the worst trauma that you can imagine, now seeing the best of the best,” says Governor Beshear.
Rebuilding still has a long road ahead. Governor Beshear laid out plans for rebuilding in the third year after the tornado, with an emphasis on rebuilding the park and baseball fields in Dawson Springs.
“We’re going to reach a point where even rebuilding becomes a grind,” says Governor Beshear. “We’ve got to get through it. We’ve got to keep pushing because the last person helped deserves our help and deserves us to keep our promise just as much as the very first that went under roof.”