Down the Backroads | The Power of the Human Spirit - Kentucky Farm Bureau

Down the Backroads | The Power of the Human Spirit

Posted on Feb 15, 2022

The tornadoes that ripped through our Commonwealth on December 10, and into the wee hours of the next day, left a trail of destruction most of us have never seen.

As the reports of damage began to filter into local news outlets, I was in disbelief of what I was seeing and hearing.

But it wasn’t until I visited some of the damaged areas, I would experience the terrible impact these storms had on so many communities across portions of the state.

Many of the backroads I had recently traveled were covered in debris. Homes that once dotted the landscape were, in many cases, completely gone.

And farmland in various locations was littered with remnants of torn-up barns, damaged farm equipment, and uprooted fences.

All I could do was sit and stare in disbelief at what I was seeing. I could only imagine the mindset of those folks I was about to meet and talk to.

However, I wasn’t but just a few minutes into the first conversation, I discovered what I was hearing wasn’t about total despair but rather optimistic hope.

Farm families who appeared to have lost every material procession, never lost their faith, their love of neighbors, and their will to rise above the torment and rebuild their homes and farms.

In fact, the rebuilding was well underway in many places. Leveled barns were being rebuilt anew. Downed trees were being cut up and removed. Food was being distributed.

It was truly amazing to witness the outpouring of assistance and the resolve so many people had; people who could have easily thrown their hands in the air giving up hope but instead they found optimism in the idea of moving forward.

During one particular visit, I spoke to a farmer who repeatedly used the word “blessed.”

Although he had lost nearly every personal belonging he had, he told me he felt blessed to have survived and to be able to rebuild.

He felt blessed because he knew there were others who had fared much worse than he. His concern was more for those folks than for himself.

He looked forward to spring and a new crop feeling blessed to be able to do so. I walked away from this person feeling blessed to have met him, to have talked to him, and to have witnessed what true spirit looks like in a human.

The spirit of the folks affected by this terrible situation was nothing short of miraculous. At a time when they could have thrown in the towel, they were choosing to roll up their sleeves in a tremendous effort to rebuild not only their homes and farms but their neighbors’, as well.   

I will never forget the scenes I saw in the aftermath of these deadly tornadoes but the fortitude I found along the way far exceeded my expectations.

The power of the human spirit should never be underestimated, and it will be this spirit that will bring these affected areas back in ways, we can’t imagine.

As a collective family of Kentuckians, we shall never forget this time but our resilience and willingness to help those in need will be evident far beyond this time, as we all travel down the backroads.

By: Tim Thornberry, Editor

Kentucky Farm Bureau News