Dawson Springs Primitive Baptist Church rebuilds after December storms

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Published: Jun. 21, 2022 at 6:34 PM CDT|Updated: Jun. 22, 2022 at 5:44 AM CDT
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DAWSON SPRINGS, Ky. (WFIE) - A Dawson Springs church got its official green light from an inspector after a rebuild from the December 10 storms.

Right after the storms hit, contractors thought this building was a total loss. After getting a second look, they decided they could save it.

Pastor Jeff Winfrey is proud to open the doors to his newly rebuilt church.

“We freshened it up, modernized it a little bit,” said Winfrey. “I don’t know if I’ve got a favorite part.”

It’s come a long way from what it’s been through after December 10’s storms.

“The front doors had been blown off and the roof had been peeled back,” said Winfrey. “I stood there the first morning, early that morning and just wept. Then it seemed like the Holy Spirit told me, ‘this is a building, you got to go find your people.’”

Two of his people, two sisters in his church family, died in the storms.

“We probably looked for 45 minutes in the debris of their house, then the bodies were located on the other end of the block, laying side by side and that was a pretty horrible scene there,” Winfrey said.

Winfrey’s been a pastor here since 2004, born and raised in Dawson Springs.

Those sisters were more than people he went to church with. He says one would wait for him outside every Sunday before service.

“Actually her husband taught me to ride a bicycle when I was five years old,” Winfrey recalled. “It’s sort of like the Mayberry idea where we all go back a long ways and know each other.”

Winfrey made memories with them at church. He was heartbroken when he thought the building was a loss.

“We thought it was a goner, then the engineer showed up, and the building inspector decided the steel girders had held and it would be able to be rebuilt instead of starting over so that was a blessing there,” Winfrey said.

A group of Amish people and a flood of donations helped make the rebuild possible.

“I had money that came into me from all over this country,” said Winfrey. “I don’t know, I can’t explain it. We were getting thousands and thousands of dollars.”

The final product is better than Winfrey imagined.

“We’re so thankful for it,” he said. “The people are overwhelmed when they come in talking about how pretty it is. Of course that makes us all feel good.”

A lot of the homes surrounding the church are completely gone, but a bell on the church’s lawn stood strong through the storm and looks untouched, leaving a piece of the old building’s history.

The church used some leftover money from the donations they got to build a new food bank.

The previous food bank was a makeshift one inside an apartment.

They wanted to free it up because they need as much housing as they can get after the storms.

So the church bought the property on East Railroad Avenue, which is just a couple of blocks from the center of town.

The food bank is in the church’s name, but they are leasing the new building to the directors of the food bank for $1.

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