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Volunteers gift and plant trees, other greenery for Dawson Springs tornado victims

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Mason Galemore
/
WKMS
Mitchell "Tate" Hall, Vice President of the Kentucky Hemp Association, helps unload mums for Planting Day 2022.

Tornado victims in Dawson Springs received new plants and trees on their properties last weekend with the help of volunteers, one of several efforts in the western Kentucky to add greenery to places hit by last year’s tornado outbreak.

The “Planting Day” event was organized by the Kentucky Hemp Association and drew in dozens of volunteers from several states including Michigan and North Carolina. Organizations involved such as the Kentucky Horticultural Council, Boy Scouts of America and the Christian County-based hemp and CBD company Kentucky Hempworks supplied plants, tools and labor for the event.

President of the Kentucky Hemp Association Katie Moyer Arzamastseva said after the association had raised a large amount of tornado relief funding through GoFundMe, her and other relief volunteers decided to use the money to create a planting day.

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Mason Galemore
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WKMS
Darrell Collins watches as he receives a new plants on his property. He and his wife Doris Collins plan to finish rebuilding their property by December 10.

“Many of the people on the list to receive plants came out to help plant before they received their own plants,” Arzamastseva said. “It all mixed together into this beautiful project. We have had a ton of support.”

Many of the trees and plants collected for the event were purposefully evergreen and edible. This way, residents could actually eat from the plants and have plants that would last year round.

Ann Marie Kramper, the business manager for Kentucky Hempworks, said because western Kentucky has so many agriculture businesses, the planting day event seemed like the best way for those businesses to pitch in.

“I think it was an important thing to focus on these smaller aspects that we dealt with during the tornado,” Kramper said. “We had help from across the country to help rebuild houses, getting people into shelter, helping with those essential things that people let their landscaping go to the side.”

Kramper said landscaping is expensive, and it can be difficult for tornado victims to tend to their yards and gardens while rebuilding their homes.

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Mason Galemore
/
WKMS
Katie Moyer Arzamastseva briefs volunteers before Planting Day 2022 begins.

Dawson Springs couple Doris and Darrell Collins, who lost their home during the December 10 tornado, received several plants including new mums and a butterfly bush. Doris Collins said they appreciate the greenery and that it gives them hope for the future.

“It’s been an answer to our prayers,” Doris Collins said. “We just didn’t know what to do and when they did that it was like, ‘Oh we might make it now.’”

The Collins installed an underground tornado shelter on their property following the tornado. They plan to have their house rebuilt by December 10 — one year after the natural disaster.

Mason Galemore is a Murray State student studying journalism. He was the editor-in-chief of his high school newspaper. Since then has explored different publication avenues such as broadcasting. He hopes to travel as a journalist documenting conflict zones and different cultures. He remembers watching the Arab Spring in 2011 via the news when he was a kid, which dawned in a new age of journalism grounded in social media. His favorite hobbies are hiking, photography, reading, writing and playing with his Australian Shepard, Izzy. He is originally from Charleston, Missouri.
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