One year later: Dawson Springs nurse remembers helping after surviving deadly W. Ky. storms
‘So I don’t think there were minutes. We had seconds.’
DAWSON SPRINGS, Ky. (WFIE) - As an EF-4 tornado barreled towards Dawson Springs on Dec. 10, 2021, lifetime resident Meredith Hyde and her family didn’t worry.
The sounds were second nature, the gusts were not uncommon. But as it got closer, her husband’s co-worker relayed a chilling message.
“And he called back again and he said, ‘Y’all get somewhere now it’s coming straight for you,’” Hyde said.
Between receiving that call, and running for safety in their windowless bathroom, time was running out.
“So I don’t think there were minutes,” Hyde said. “We had seconds.”
Those seconds quickly ticked away. Hyde’s son and husband crammed into the bathroom with her, fighting against the gusts.
“They were doing all they could do to hold the bathroom door shut,” Hyde said.
As quickly as it came, it was gone. Leaving an indelible mark on the Oak Heights neighborhood, on her home, and on everything she knew.
“Then you’re lost, because all these houses were there, there are no landmarks,” Hyde said. “You hear these cries, still, over there. You hear ambulances coming back here.”
After a night of helping her neighbors, daylight broke through to reveal the devastation. Hyde was unsure of her first steps for herself, but she knew what she had to do for her town.
“I may have some scrapes, I may have some bruises, my heart might hurt,” Hyde said. “But my heart’s going to hurt a whole lot more if I sit here and don’t do anything.”
She traveled to Pennyrile State Park – instantly making herself an important part of a medical team. Helping others is second nature for Hyde, a psychiatric nurse practitioner.
“The best time to tackle PTSD, is when it first happens,” Hyde said. “Even though you may not know how bad it is at first, if you can start talking about it, if you can start getting it out, if you can start sharing; that’s what you need to do.”
As she recalled countless moments in the state park, she highlighted the many who came to help. Those who traveled across cities, counties, and states, just to help a town that had been through so much.
“We’ve received, and I hope to God we can give back of what we’ve received,” Hyde said.
Hyde says she knows Dawson Springs will build back, she knows homes will be, and already have been, replaced.
She hopes for something greater in her hometown though.
“Just to be proud to live in Dawson Springs again, and to know that we came through it,” Hyde said. “If it hit somewhere else, that we will reach out to those people and be like listen, here’s what we’re going to do.”
The day after the storm, Hyde and her family shared a special moment, as her son got married.
Amid all the pain and loss, Hyde said they were going to postpone. But instead, they decided that they needed to end that day on a high note.
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