DAWSON SPRINGS, Ky. (WEHT) – A new chapter is unfolding for the Hunt and Hernandez families in Dawson Springs who were displaced nearly two years ago by the western Kentucky tornado. Desiree Hunt and her son were in the path of the storm in December of 2021. Since then, they have lived in different houses across Kentucky, but her groundbreaking ceremony, attended by Governor Andy Beshear, provided a new sense of hope.
“I can’t wait to have a yard with him and watch him grow up in a home that we can have forever,” says Hunt. “I’m just so excited for us to have a home that we know is ours and we’re not going to be kicked out of or have to go somewhere else.”
Signs of December 2021 are still around, but so are signs of improvement. Governor Beshear says celebrating a ground breaking instead of a dedication ceremony shows the families that the work continues.
“Yes it’s going to take some time to build, but it is just for them,” explains Governor Beshear. “And to be able to come by and check on it, to be able to follow it as a family, you know there is an end to the difficulties that you’ve been through.”
Heath Duncan, Executive Director for the Habitat for Humanity in Hopkins County, says by the 24-month mark in December, his team will have built 24 new homes for tornado survivors.
“If you would have told me three years ago we would be able to build a house a month, I would have told you you were nuts,” says Duncan.
“I grew up here and everything was gone,” says Hunt. “So to see it all coming back up is amazing. I’m happy for everyone getting new houses and I can’t wait for them to all be back.”
Governor Beshear adds, “The goal here has to be that we know it’s going to take years, we’re almost at two, but we remain committed each and every day to get it done, and today’s just another testament to how this community isn’t going to stop until every single family is back on their feet.”
Governor Beshear says as of the end of October 2023, 147 new homes have been built across western Kentucky through the state’s tornado relief fund. He expects at least another 150 homes to be built with that funding. Hunt says she hopes to have a pool or a trampoline installed once her new home is complete.