CAMPBELLSVILLE, Ky. — Families in rural Taylor County were hit hard when an EF-3 tornado tore through their community one year ago during a rare December tornado outbreak.
One woman was killed, over 30 were injured, and dozens of homes and buildings were destroyed.
For those near Campbellsville, the efforts to rebuild have been slower and more difficult than some anticipated.
"We're little small town Campbellsville. We had it here. We had the tornado here too, don't forget about us," Kelly Parker said.
Kelly and Anthony Parker had lived in their Taylor County home for over 20 years before it was destroyed in the early hours of Dec. 11, 2021. They had just finished paying off their home in February.
Kelly suffered injuries and was taken to the hospital after the tornado passed. She had surgery earlier this year to fix an injury to her shoulder when a wall of her home fell on her that night. Their family nearly lost everything.
Even with the help of dozens of volunteers immediately after the tornado, it's been a challenge to get their property rebuilt.
Inflation and supply chain disruptions skyrocketed the price of building materials.
"Even if you do get supplies there's so many people that's so busy there's not enough workers to build all these homes back," Anthony said.
The Parkers and many other families that are rebuilding their homes aren't taking any chances. Even though they have a basement, the Parkers elected to install a storm shelter as extra protection for when the next storm comes.
The Parkers had to delay building their shelter though, choosing to wait for prices to come down. Other families didn't, but almost all have taken on significant debt to get their lives back together.
It's why Kellie Jones set up the Taylor County Disaster Recovery Group which guides families toward resources and provides additional funds outside of insurance.
Donations from national charities have been a great help, but it can be slow going through the paperwork to find what qualifies for aid and what doesn't.
"That freedom of being able to do with that money what we need to is what we need," Jones said.
Rebuilding homes is the main goal of most charities, but not everyone in Taylor County lost their home. Instead they lost barns and garages which is a huge part of their livelihood.
Direct monetary donations to local organizations like the Taylor County Disaster Recovery help speed that process along.
The Parkers want to emphasize that they and other residents impacted are forever grateful for the help of volunteers immediately after the storm and in the year since. That said, it's been an exercise in patience for everyone affected.
There's still a lot of hard work to be done but the families that are rebuilding are embracing the challenge with their unwavering faith, resiliency and determination.
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