EDDYVILLE, Ky. — While the tornadoes that ravaged western Kentucky destroyed so much this month, they've also brought out the best in humanity – including some strangers finding it in their heart to help one another out during difficult times.

What You Need To Know

  • Larry Sledd and his wife purchased a permanent retirement home for themselves in Eddyville, Kentucky

  • Tornadoes earlier this month leveled that home

  • The Sledds were at their home in Illinois when the tornado passed through

  • Volunteers from Missouri were some of many helping people like Sledd pick up the pieces

A drive on Mountain View Road in Eddyville shows the destruction from an already historic EF-4 tornado that was made worse by mother nature’s other powerful presence – beauty. The mountains covered in trees are something Larry Sledd knows and loves.

“Like I say, it was beautiful here. We love it," Sledd said. "All the trees, which have all been decimated, and I don’t know if it will ever look the same.”

Sledd and his wife bought their soon-to-be retirement home in Eddyville. Thankfully, they weren’t home when the tornado hit.

“We just bought it six weeks before this hit; it’s pretty devastating," Sledd said.

They were at their house that was up for sale in Evansville, Illinois.

Sledd said the majority of their stuff was already moved. The next step was moving here for retirement. 

“iIt’s gone. They had a little building out back that’s gone," he said. "There’s some volunteers here going to help us clean up and try to get some of this debris and trees and stuff out of the way.”

Helping the Sledds clean up was volunteer Thomas Custer.

“I’ve got a construction company in St. Charles, Missouri, Big T's Hauling-Asphalt Maintenance, and I bought this just to come down and help out," Custer said.

He drove from St. Charles, normally a three and a half hour drive that turned into six because of a flat tire. He felt compelled to help because he has a second home in Lyon county, at which he said he spends most of his time.

“We missed that tornado by about 10-11 miles, and then in St. Charles where we live, we missed the other one by about 8 miles. So twice the indemnity, but we got lucky both ways so... You always gotta give a little. Take a little give a little. That’s how it works in life," Custer added.

Monday, Dec. 27 was the Sledd’s second time at their retirement home. They’ve mainly been focused on finding mementos. Sledd specifically is looking for a lamp his previous wife who passed seven years ago made.

“One of those little jars homemade, you make a lamp out of them and it was seashells that she collected and put in there and made this lamp. And I’d really like to find that, but I have no idea if it’s even in this county," he said.

In the middle of searching for what's left, the Sledds are also collecting things that aren’t theirs.

“Just like me, well I’m sure they are just like me," he said. "They’ve lost stuff and can’t find it and I’m just hoping to get these back to their rightful owner.”

Sledd said they are probably just as devastated as him.

Lyon county is asking for people to help them with tornado recovery by volunteering their time and skills. 

If you’re interested, you can text 270-217-2885 to talk with Lyon county’s volunteer coordinator, Jenni Frank.