Beshear marks six-month anniversary of tornadoes

Published 11:11 am Thursday, June 16, 2022

FRANKFORT – Gov. Andy Beshear spent much of Friday in western Kentucky to mark the six-month anniversary of the deadly tornado outbreak of Dec. 10-11, and to view firsthand the progress of recovery efforts there.

Stops at Mayfield in Graves County, Dawson Springs in Hopkins County, and Benton in Marshall County were all on his itinerary.

“We celebrate the progress we’ve made, but we also will continue to remember and lift up the 81 lives lost and their families and communities,” Gov. Andy Beshear said Thursday. “I will never forget the promise I made to the people of Western Kentucky the morning after the tornadoes hit, which is that we will be there until every home and life is rebuilt. We are keeping that promise. We not only have made substantial progress, but we are also continuing our efforts to ensure these communities have a hopeful, bright future.”

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The governor said, to date, it is estimated that federal, state and Red Cross disaster assistance efforts total more than $193.4 million–with the state efforts representing more than $108 million in awards through the SAFE Act Fund and the Team Western Kentucky Tornado Relief Fund–and nearly 2,600 individuals have been housed through emergency programs.

Beshear praised the outpouring of support for the storm-battered region. A tornado relief campaign established by his administration has generated donations topping $52 million — with $16 million being used to help build hundreds of homes for families left homeless by the storms, he said.

The Democratic governor said the country “stopped arguing about stuff” and came together “to do God’s work, to help lift people up, tell them they mattered and that we loved them.”

“It represents the best of America,” Beshear said.

Beshear announced Thursday that an additional $15 million in SAFE Act Funds were being distributed to the Mayfield Electric and Water Systems, $1.2 million to the City of Dawson Springs and $165,000 to Muhlenberg County.

“Steady progress is being made to rebuild and restore what was taken from our people and their hometowns, but the work continues,” he said. “The additional SAFE fund awards will help further that progress by helping to cover expenses and services ineligible for FEMA aid, as well as relieve some of the fiscal strain these communities have endured.”