Tornado survivors find shelter at Pennyrile State Park

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Published: Dec. 14, 2021 at 9:33 PM CST
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DAWSON SPRINGS, Ky. (WFIE) - On Friday night, as the storms worsened, LaDonna Hooper and her husband hunkered down with their daughter Victoria in a friend’s basement.

“We told her just hold onto a pole and just hang on and we’ll let you know when it’s time to come out,” she said.

It wasn’t until Saturday morning that they returned to Dawson Springs to see their home.

The roof had been ripped off, the garage demolished, and all their belongings were scattered.

In the days since, they and a little over a hundred others flocked to Pennyrile State park, where they’ve been living in a suite at the main lodge.

“I mean coming here, just put us in a mood that we’re all together, we’re a family,” Hooper said.

Volunteers have been coming out of the woodwork to help keep the place running, provide food, and to donate clothes and essentials.

“It’s just kind of great to just see people,” Hooper said. “People just love on you.”

But for folks like them, she said it doesn’t take away the reality of what happened.

“You still say, ‘Well, I’m going to go home,’ but you’re not going home,” she said.

The Hoopers said they’re going to be staying at Pennyrile for the next two weeks.

She said she’s not sure what’s next.

At the very least, she said this outpouring of support has made it clear where they want to be.

“Dawson Springs is our hometown,” Hooper said. “We’ll find somewhere close in Dawson, outside of Dawson just a little bit. We’ll find something.”

Park staff say they’re prepared to house people through the holidays, but after that, they’ll need to regroup and see if they can continue the service.

The Red Cross has a list of shelter locations on their website.

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