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‘It took everything’: Water department worker recounts losing home after Dawson Springs tornado

Published: Dec. 30, 2021 at 6:27 PM CST
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DAWSON SPRINGS, Ill. (WFIE) - When the tornado from earlier this month hit the Dawson Springs area, the South Hopkins Water District Superintendent Jon Blalock went right to work, trying to restore water to those who had lost everything. But it turns out, he was a survivor too.

The stories of survival continue to be told down as the cleanup efforts move forward in the fallout of the tornadoes that devastated the Tri-State on December 11.

Blalock also survived the tornado, as he and his family hunkered down in their basement.

“It came pretty much right down Highway 62,” Blalock said. “We took shelter inside of our basement in our house, and that’s what was left was the basement of the house. It took the shop, my dog kennels - it took everything.”

Blalock’s home was destroyed, along with almost everything in it. But thankfully, he and his family survived.

However, Blalock’s night was just beginning. As the superintendent of the South Hopkins Water District, which supplies water to over 3,000 customers, he knew he had to get to work.

“I went through the neighborhood turning off gas lines because I was afraid - well, we made it through the tornado, but now we’re gonna have a major explosion,” Blalock said. “That was one of my fears, is that we were gonna have a fire and no water to put it out.”

Blalock didn’t act alone. His co-workers also dropped everything to help.

“We have 285 miles of line and two cities we supply water, and they’re looking at me for that to happen,” Blalock said. “And luckily, we had the resources behind us and the people to come and help. There’s no ‘I’ in team - it was a group effort.”

Despite seeing his hometown, as well as his own property, turned upside down, he’s keeping a positive attitude.

“Dawson is home, and it’s all family here,” Blalock said. “Everybody’s gonna help everybody, so there is hope. We’ll be okay. We will rebuild.”

As for his own plight, Blalock says they do plan on staying in Dawson Springs, building their new home on the same lot.

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