The Burgess Family car after the EF-4 Tornado

The Burgess family car is shown after the EF-4 tornado.

The Mayfield Community Foundation was created, prior to the disaster, to build a stronger community and enhance the quality of life for those in the area. Once the record breaking tornado hit Mayfield, the community foundation sprang into action, helping every citizen in need they possibly could. The foundation has already completed a few projects set out to help those recover from the tornado devastation, such as the “Mattress Project,” which included distributing mattresses purchased from Gilliam Thompson Furniture.

Recently, The Mayfield Community Foundation was able to give three families whose vehicles were destroyed in the tornado, a new set of wheels.

On Monday, Jan. 10, Bessie Burgess received a new vehicle at Seay Motors, located at 72 Youngblood Drive in Mayfield. Burgess and her husband lived on Mohler Lane, which is located next to Cardinal Road — where the majority of the devastation happened in Mayfield.

“It’s not only a miracle to be alive today,” Bessie Burgess told Heartland News. “But to also have a working car that belongs to us.”

The Burgess family lost their home, along with everything in it. Included in their losses, their vehicle was turned upside down, being a total loss.

“At first I didn’t think it was real,” Rodney Burgess, Bessie’s husband, said after finding out his wife would be receiving a car. “It’s been overwhelming how nice people have been.”

“Our house, our motorhome, our boat, cars — everything is completely gone,” said Burgess. “I mean, you can’t even tell that it was there really. Our whole neighborhood is gone.”

Currently, the Burgess family is staying at the Econo Lodge in Paducah. Bessie works in Clinton, borrowing a car from her sister just to get to work everyday. The Burgess family is ‘forever grateful for getting the call to receive a vehicle’.

“There is no way we will be able to thank everybody,” said Burgess. “But I hope they know that our gratitude is there, and we really appreciate it.

At Auto Outlet, located at 1001 Paducah Rd. in Mayfield, a second vehicle was given to a family in need. Julie Futrell lived at the Mayfield Housing Authority when the E4 tornado ripped through her home. In the chaos of the storm, Futrell barely got her mother to safety in the closet, considering her mother is currently battling stage 4 lung cancer and does not have the ability to move quickly.

During the storm, a large oak tree fell on the rear end of her vehicle — Futrell only having liability insurance. Due to being a self-employed cleaning person, she relies on her vehicle to get her from job to job. With the storm destroying everything they once knew, Futrell says she needs to work now more than ever. Currently, she is staying at the Wingfield Inn until her new housing can be obtained.

The last recipient of the day was Peter Sierra. At Supreme Auto Sales, located at 805 S. Sixth St. in Mayfield, Sierra was gifted a new vehicle for him and his family. During the tornado, Sierra’s van was completely destroyed. Having four children, he was in need of another safe van in order to take his children to school and where else they may need to go, as well as a way of transportation for him to get to work at West Kentucky Community and Technical College.

“When I moved to Mayfield in 2005 I knew that this was a great place to live. This act of kindness proves what we already knew but it is now even greater,” said Sierra. “The impact in the lives of the recipients will be long lasting as it gives some sense of normalcy while we little by little and brick by brick continue to rebuild. Much thanks to Mr. Elder, Mr. Doughty, Mrs. Denise Thompson, the Mayfield Community Foundation and everyone who has had a hand in making this gift possible.”

Mel Doughty, Mayfield Community Foundation’s vice-president says he is able to see the light in such a dark situation, thanks to the generosity coming from every direction.

“That has been the huge positive thing,” said Doughty. “The people from all over the country, and the whole world. They have poured in money for donations.”

The Mayfield Community Foundation has received enough money to purchase 10 cars for families in need and has received over 70 applications for vehicles. Donations are still being accepted, as well as applications. More information can be found on The Mayfield Community Foundation’s Facebook page.