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Volunteer coordinates tornado relief in Hopkins Co.

Volunteer coordinates tornado relief in Hopkins Co.
Published: Feb. 5, 2022 at 7:45 PM CST
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BARNSLEY, Ky. (WFIE) - For those wanting to volunteer in western Kentucky, there’s any number of organizations that people can contact.

But if you want to volunteer in Barnsley, you talk to Billy.

When the tornadoes hit western Kentucky, area native Billy Wells didn’t hesitate to get involved.

“I don’t know, I just thought I need to go help,” Wells said.

From that first day on, he hasn’t slowed down. Wells says he’s visited every house in the area to find out what the people need. He’s brought in and distributed supplies, organized the demolition of homes that are too far gone, coordinated with national charities, local food banks and waves of volunteers.

All his work has made him the go-to guy in the area, and he estimates having met over 2,000 people since the tornadoes.

“People come up to me and say, ‘Are you Billy?’ I say, ‘Yes, sir, I am,’” Wells said. “They say, ‘Well you’re the one that we’re looking for.’ And how they know, how my name got out there I really don’t know, but I’m still glad to meet them and talk to them. It tickles me to death.”

He says he grew up in Barnsley and now lives a few miles away. Having deep roots in the area makes it hard to see the devastation on the area and the people who live there.

“Well, it’s hard to talk about, even after this long,” Wells said.

He says the area has come a long way since the tornadoes, but there’s still a lot left to do. Cleanup is ongoing, but he’s excited to say they’re planning to start some of the rebuilding on Monday.

“And long as everybody knows that we’re here to help them and we’re going to get them back in their homes, that’s really all that counts,” said Wells.

Billy is 75 years old, and says he does have plans to slow down when he reaches 95. He says the secret to a long life is staying active.

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