Newswire: Tornado victims still suffering

Robert Daniel, 47, was supervising seven inmates working at a candle factory that was destroyed by a tornado in Mayfield, Ky. Daniel died protecting the inmates.
Army National Guardsmen with the 301st Chemical Battalion and Air Guardsmen with the 123rd Airlift Wing continue searching and rescuing in Mayfield, KY, on December 12th, 2021. PHOTO: Spc. Brett Hornback, 133rd, Mobile Public Affairs Detachment

By Hamil R. Harris

( – Robert Daniel was more than a supervisor at Graves County Jail. He was a father of seven who enjoyed rehabilitating inmates at a work-release at a Candle Factory in Mayfield, Ky.
Daniel was working on Dec. 10th when a mammoth tornado rumbled through his Western, Kentucky town destroying property and killing more than 80 people. Daniel was one of eight victims of a series of more than 80 tornados. 
“The last thing he did was make sure [the inmates] were taken care of, even at his own peril,” said, George Workman, a co-worker at the jail who described Daniel to reporters on the scene as a hero.
Nearly 100 people have been confirmed dead along the 250-mile path of destruction in Kentucky and across the south central U.S. 
President Joe Biden toured neighborhoods where homes had been reduced to piles of rubble, including bricks, personal belongings, cars flipped upside down, and trees mangled with insulation and other parts of houses and buildings. Biden has promised all federal resources available for survivors of the tragedy.
Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear has established the Team Western Kentucky Tornado Relief Fund to assist those impacted by the tornados and the severe weather system that hit only a few weeks before Christmas.
According to reports, when Daniel’s friends saw news reports of the destruction at the candle factory they rushed to the scene. Jason Blair and A.J. Ferguson said they found Daniel crushed by a big wall that fell on him. One of the inmates was found under Daniel, but survived. Blain and Ferguson said they believed it was Daniel’s large frame that saved the inmate.
Daniel’s daughter, Jenna, told CBS News that her father died saving lives, and for that, “he deserves all the honor.” She also said, “He did his job and he did it well because all of his inmates survived.”
Reported deaths: 21 in Graves County; 17 in Hopkins County; 15 in Warren County; 11 in Muhlenberg County; 4 in Caldwell County; 2 in Marshall County; and one each in Franklin, Fulton, Lyon and Taylor counties. The age range of those killed now ranges from 2 months old to 98 years old. Twelve of those killed were children.
There currently are approximately 122 Kentuckians unaccounted for as local, state and federal crews continue rescue and recovery efforts.
About 568 Kentucky National Guardsmen continue to support the storm relief. Seventy-nine soldiers and airmen completed search and extraction and fatality search and retrieval at the factory site in Mayfield, with two chaplain​s serving for spiritual support.
Those wanting to donate can make checks to the Kentucky State Treasurer. In the memo line please note the donation is for the “Team Western Kentucky Tornado Relief Fund.”
To help the tornado victims and their families, the checks can be sent to Public Protection Cabinet, 500 Mero Street, 218 NC, Frankfort, KY 40601.
At Daniel’s funeral, the  sanctuary was packed with people – Black and White – for the burly man who had a big sense of humor and was nicknamed, “Harp,” according to the Louisville Courier journal.
“You know it’s true whenever you hear it from the inmates,” said George Workman, a Graves County jailer in the Courier Journal. “They said that he was taking care of them, telling them to get to the wall, which is the safe place. They were headed that way, and that was the last that they saw of him. He was pushing the last one of them in.”
Yvonne Coleman Bach, associate publisher, and the staff at the Louisville Defender Newspaper contributed to this story.


Newswire: Communities across Kentucky come together to lend a helping hand after devastating tornadoes

Destruction caused by tornadoes

By Anoa Changa, NewsOne

After news of the devastation from multiple tornadoes spread, Jimmy Finch knew he had to do something. So he loaded up supplies and set out from his home in Clarksville, Tennessee, driving nearly two hours to Mayfield, Ky., to help feed people.  
According to local news reports, Finch brought his smoker with him and soon connected with a local food truck owner to feed people in the town of approximately 10,000.  
“I just came down here trying to feed the people,” Finch said in an interview with WLWT. “Everybody’s talking about they’re sending up prayers and, you know, their well wishes and everything. You know, folks can’t eat no prayer. You gotta put something in their stomach. Give them something to hold on to.” 
As state and federal officials figure out the recovery for communities in the South and Midwest affected by the cluster of tornados that hit over the weekend, people like Finch and Rhonda Moss-Levelle are filling in the gap.  
Moss-Levelle told the outlet that her family’s food truck remained untouched, and she and Finch are just doing what made sense. Three residents of Bowling Green set up a stand giving out free hot dogs and hamburgers to help folks in the aftermath of the storm. 
Around the region, people are filling in the gap to meet the overwhelming need of the moment. Located in Louisville, Ky., the Muhammad Ali Center announced support for relief efforts. 
“The Ali Center is joining the Western Kentucky Tornado Relief Efforts following last weekend’s historically devastating storms” the center tweeted.” Starting Wednesday, we’ll donate $1 for every admission ticket sold until January 30th, and $3000 immediately. Western Kentucky, we are here for you!” 
Hood to the Holler leveraged its platform to share opportunities to support community-led efforts in response to the disaster. Kentuckians For The Commonwealth also pulled together a list of resources for those in need and people looking to provide support.  
Another mutual aid organization in eastern Kentucky was helping to coordinate supplies from local public school districts to help affected families and students in the western part of the state.  
Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear announced a relief fund to directly benefit people in the western part of the state impacted by the tornadoes. As of Wednesday morning, over $10 million had been raised.  To contribute, go to
Severe weather disasters are increasingly becoming the norm in many communities around the country, with mutual aid becoming more commonplace than in previous years. As communities continue to work together to sustain each other in times of crisis, policymakers and elected leaders will need to get serious about real solutions to protecting people’s lives and livelihoods.