Ky. family recalls twins being born early, home destroyed night of deadly tornadoes

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Published: Jun. 10, 2022 at 6:46 PM CDT
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BREMEN, Ky. (WFIE) - When the tornado came through Muhlenberg County, one Bremen man was far from his home, fighting a different battle.

In December of 2021, we introduced Marty Gish, the father of twins born three months early.

[Previous Story: Bremen family thankful for all the help after the tornadoes]

Marty’s twins spent the first five months of their lives in the NIC-U in Louisville, Kentucky.

Just a few days before Christmas, Marty’s family farm was being torn down piece by piece, but as those walls came down, Marty’s focus was on his family over 100 miles away.

In October of 2021, Marty Gish and his girlfriend Shannon Hancock were in Louisville, where the couple would spend much of the next five months. After trying to have kids for over two years, Shannon was due to have twins in February, the problem was, her babies came early.

“Well they came really early, they came at 24 weeks so they had to have a stay in the NICU, which Adi was in for 120 days and Sailor was in for 152,” Shannon says.

On the night of December 10, Marty and his family were in Louisville, but heard that storms were moving in to Bremen. Six months ago, Marty’s mind wasn’t on his home, it was wondering if the twins he’d waited so long to have would survive.

Adeline needed heart surgery, Sailor needed two brain surgeries. Even in the midst of that battle, Marty’s home was lost.

“You play the hand you’re dealt,” Marty says. “You don’t have any choice. It’s not like you get to turn it in and say well I want another hand. The tornado hit us, that’s what happened, so we have to pick up the pieces and move on.”

When he returned home to Bremen he found a surprise in an unlikely place... his driveway. Marty says dozens of Mennonite men came from Illinois to help him and his family, and would hardly take a thank you in return.

“I can’t say thank you enough. We’re just two people that mother nature picked on. I mean there are thousands of people just like us every day in this country,” Marty says.

For three months, the men worked to tear down homes and barns for Marty’s family. And around the time they finished removing the last piece of debris, Marty and Shannon’s twins finished their stay in the NIC-U, and headed home.

“I remember sitting in the NIC-U and just dreaming about one day getting them home and just being able to pick them up when I wanted,” Shannon says.

“This is the best thing that ever happened to us. It may have happened in a horrible set of events around it, but this is still the best thing that’s ever happened in our lives,” Marty says.

A happy family, now reunited. Though scars from the surgeries remain, the Gish family is together, and thankful for that.

“Anybody that’s reached out, anybody that’s prayed for us and just everybody, we just want to say thank you,” Shannon says.

Marty, Shannon and the “twister twins” as they call them are currently renting a house while they look for something more permanent, but our 14 News reporter Jordan Yaney says, in the few times he’s met them, there’s always a smile on their faces, just two very proud and very happy parents.

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