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Beshear hands out keys for five new Dawson Springs homes to tornado survivors

Gov. Andy Beshear hands out keys on Monday for five new homes in Dawson Springs to families who lost their homes in the December 2021 tornado outbreak.
Hannah Saad
Gov. Andy Beshear hands out keys on Monday for five new homes in Dawson Springs to families who lost their homes in the December 2021 tornado outbreak.

Communities across western Kentucky are still working to recover from the December 2021 tornado outbreak. Gov. Andy Beshear presented the keys to five new homes on Monday to Dawson Springs families who lost their residences in the disaster.

The governor joined Habitat for Humanity – the group which built the new homes – along with volunteer groups, Hopkins County leaders and dozens of community members to welcome the families into their new homes.

Celebrating the new homes in Dawson Springs was meaningful for Beshear, who has roots in the small Hopkins County city. He recalled seeing the immediate aftermath of the EF-4 tornado that hit his grandfather’s hometown.

“Being here the day after the tornado, standing in a town that I know and that I love, and it was a safe place for me, and not recognizing where I was, it's one of the hardest things I've ever been through,” Beshear said.

Some estimates indicate that as much as 70% of homes in Dawson Springs, a town of less than 3,000 people, were damaged or destroyed during the December 2021 tornado outbreak. Out of the 81 Kentuckians who died in the natural disaster, 19 of them were from Dawson Springs.

Around $440,000 from the Team Western Kentucky Tornado Relief Fund went toward building the five new residences, Beshear said.

Habitat for Humanity Pennyrile Region Executive Director Heath Duncan said, including these five new houses, 11 homes have been built in Dawson Springs since December 2021.

Duncan, who also chairs the Hopkins County Long Term Recovery Group, said Habitat for Humanity has partnered with another 12 families in Dawson Springs, and is still processing applications and finding new families to build with.

“Habitat for Humanity is very active in long term recovery in general. We're not just here to build houses,” Duncan said.

Eighteen months after the deadly tornado outbreak, Beshear said there will continue to be new homes built in western Kentucky.

“I want you to know that we remain as committed today as on that day to getting everyone's homes and structures and lives rebuilt,” Beshear said. “And just because yours isn't up and intact like these five doesn't mean we’ve forgotten about you. We're going to continue to work to make sure that Dawson Springs becomes the newest town with the most new construction in the entire Commonwealth of Kentucky.”

Hannah Saad is the Assistant News Director for WKMS. Originally from Michigan, Hannah earned her bachelor’s degree in news media from The University of Alabama in 2021. Hannah moved to western Kentucky in the summer of 2021 to start the next chapter of her life after graduation. Prior to joining WKMS in March 2023, Hannah was a news reporter at The Paducah Sun. Her goal at WKMS is to share the stories of the region from those who call it home. Outside of work, Hannah enjoys exploring local restaurants, sports photography, painting, and spending time with her fiancé and two dogs.
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