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National Guard members meeting needs in Mayfield

Now that the search and rescue efforts have ended, National Guard members are helping in other ways like directing traffic and discouraging looters.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Hundreds of National Guard members likely have months of work ahead as they help people in western Kentucky recover from the deadly tornado outbreak last weekend.

Tremendous progress has been made to clean up communities like Mayfield, but a lot of work is left to do. Utility companies spent much of Thursday rebuilding powerlines across town.

Now that the rescue and recovery efforts have finished, National Guard members have pivoted to help in other ways, like directing traffic and acting as law enforcement to prevent and discourage looting.

RELATED: Kentucky tornado outbreak: Here's what has happened in the past week

The leader of Kentucky's National Guard, Adjutant General Hal Lamberton, said he knows of at least three looting reports since the storm hit. He added that the Guard's work could become more difficult as incoming rain will likely displace even more people from their homes.

"Being able to live in their homes is really kind of a tenuous situation anyway," said Gen. Lamberton. "The rain, piles of rain being dumped on top of their homes makes it even more hazardous to continue.

Gen. Daniel Hokason, the chief of the National Guard and one of the six joint Chiefs of Staff for the United States traveled from Washington D.C. to Mayfield Thursday to see the wreckage firsthand.

Credit: WHAS11
Left: National Guard Gen. Daniel Hokanson, joint Chiefs of Staff Right: Kentucky National Guard Adjutant Gen. Hal Lamberton

"When you see something on TV, it's not the same when you're physically here," Hokanson said. He said he has been following the situation since the beginning.

"When you see this, you want to make sure we're doing everything we can to help the area recover," he said.

Hokanson pledged the federal government's support as long as it's needed and said he expects it will be months before the National Guard's work is complete.

Contact reporter Rachel Droze at rdroze@whas11.com. Follow her on Twitter and Facebook.

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