Good Shepherd - Kentucky Disaster Relief & Recovery Efforts

By: John Holt 

On December 10, 2021, violent tornadoes traveled through Western Kentucky impacting several counties. Becoming aware of the devastating situation, members of the Good Shepherd Episcopal School staff – Andy Blount, Caitlyn Hawkins, Brent Lampl and Bennie Williams – went into action representing the school’s Disaster Relief and Recovery Program. 

Traveling to Mayfield, Kentucky, the quartet encountered their first act of kindness just hours into their trip. In Mount Pleasant, Texas, they experienced car trouble when their trailer lights stopped operating. Visiting Top Hat Trailers to get the lights repaired and upon informing the staff of where they were headed, their service was free of charge.

“They could have easily charged us $500 and had us out the door,” Blount said. “That told me that this trip was meant to be.”  

Later they met someone at a rest area who gave $100, asking the team to give the money to someone in Kentucky.

The group would arrive in Mayfield after a 16-hour drive and station themselves at First Church of the Nazarene for the next three days. Every morning they received a prayer from a church parishioner before serving meals to those in need. By the time the trip concluded, they had served close to 3,000 meals. With every meal came a kindness letter from students in Mrs. Emily Mason’s kindness class.  

“Being able to go out and serve is hard to put into words,” Hawkins said. “It was very humbling to be around people who had lost everything. They were just so grateful for a hot meal.”

This marked the eighth trip for Blount, whereas Hawkins, Lampl and Williams were all first timers. Hopkins and Blount mainly worked from the church serving meals, while Lampl and Williams drove a few miles daily to deliver food to anyone appearing in need.

“It was bad,” Lampl said. “There were many times where we were driving between debris. We were literally driving over power lines. Roofs were gone. Trampolines impaled on trees. Tin-roofing wrapped around everything.”

One of the more powerful moments of the trip came when a crying baby received a stuffed animal and immediately stopped. Two other children, whose stuffed animals were seized by the storm’s destruction, received new stuffed animals and brought them to every meal. The stuffed animals were donated by first grade teacher Mrs. Danielle Miller.

Another touching bit came when a man named Tim, a father of four, informed Blount he and his family lost everything. Without hesitation, Blount gave him one of his rain jackets and asked what else he needed. Tim said he needed gas for his car but wasn’t accepting money. Blount then pulled him aside to share a story of the man at the rest area.

“I told him the story and said, we were at a rest area two days ago and a guy in a motor coach stopped us, gave us a $100 bill and said give this to somebody in Kentucky who needs it,” Blount said. “He was talking about you.” Tim began bawling and ultimately accepted the money.

“That’s why you do it,'' Blount said. “To help people like Tim. If you help one person, you’ve done your job.”

Because of the efforts of the DRR program, Good Shepherd Episcopal School is known by people who were previously unfamiliar with our school. As Mayfield tornado victims can attest, our DRR program clearly exemplifies our school’s mission of serving with compassion. 

And while recovery efforts in the Bluegrass State will continue for some time, the experience will not be forgotten by all who lived it and all who aided in relief.   

“All the people I met,” Lampl said, “the hugs, all of it was very touching. It was so fulfilling. I can’t tell you enough how fulfilling it was. Getting up at 4:45 (a.m.) wasn’t that bad if that makes sense? Do I want to get up that early? No, of course not. Nobody does. But it wasn’t that hard, honestly. It wasn’t hard to do what we did.” 

To donate to Good Shepherd Episcopal School’s Disaster Relief and Recovery program click here. Please view the Kentucky Educational Television (KET) Kentucky Tornadoes Aftermath Special Report video here. Our group was featured at the 8:10 mark.