August 17, 2022 | Local News
Fr. Stephen Van Lal Than

​Micah Seavers (foreground), and Buck Shelton, both co-directors of Camp G.R.A.V.E.S. in Graves County, Ky., stand inside a tiny home under construction on July 19, 2022. ELIZABETH WONG BARNSTEAD | WKC

Faith of a mustard seed

Graves County man spearheading project to house, empower tornado survivors


After tornadoes destroyed his community on Dec. 10, 2021, a Graves County man has decided to use his gifts to bless his neighbors whose daily struggles were made even more difficult when they lost everything in the storms.

“The goal is to create a comfortable environment where people want to grow,” said Micah Seavers in a July 19 interview with The Western Kentucky Catholic.

His initiative is an 8-acre property called Camp G.R.A.V.E.S.  The name is an acronym for “Goals, Relief, Aim, Virtue, Empower, Success,” as well as being a nod to the county where it is located.

His plan, formed with his co-director and friend Buck Shelton, is to provide a temporary yet comfortable place for people to live who had already been struggling socioeconomically when they lost their homes in the December tornadoes.

Residents will either live in small houses – a style commonly called “tiny homes” – currently being built on the property of Camp G.R.A.V.E.S., or park their campers in an allotted space, since some families without houses have made their homes in campers.

The non-profit has been relying on donations to move the project forward, and to date has received $340,396 from multiple donors include the Diocese of Owensboro and Catholic Charities. In addition to that amount, Camp G.R.A.V.E.S. was recently awarded $250,000 from United Way.

Seavers said they plan to have about 15 tiny homes on the property and approximately 10-12 spots for people to park their campers. The tiny homes will be different sizes, depending on the needs of the families. Camp G.R.A.V.E.S. also anticipates four additional spots for volunteers to park their own campers.

A tiny home in progress is seen at Camp G.R.A.V.E.S. in Graves County, Ky., on July 19, 2022. ELIZABETH WONG BARNSTEAD | WKC

On the topic of volunteers, Seavers said these individuals and groups who have traveled from near and far to help build the tiny homes have been the backbone of the project.

A group from Wisconsin, in fact, recently drove down to plant fruit trees at Camp G.R.A.V.E.S. – trees that will one day become a full orchard.

Seavers said that while lodging will be for free, residents will need to volunteer a set number of hours and agree to random drug testing as part of the arrangement. Educational opportunities and life skills classes will also be provided.

“Yeah, it’s free rent, but they’ll need to give something forward too,” he said, explaining that the goal will be to foster a family-friendly atmosphere.

Only one spot on the property will be designated for smoking, and registered sex offenders will not be permitted to reside there. Domestic violence will also not be tolerated.

“It has to be safe for children and families,” said Shelton.

While details are still in the works, the plan is that families will live rent-free for a year, and after that period has expired, will either have been established in permanent housing elsewhere or have the option of continuing at Camp G.R.A.V.E.S. for a set rental fee.

Seavers, who owns two local businesses, is no stranger to empowering others. Immediately after the December tornadoes, he collaborated with volunteers and used his restaurant, Southern Red’s BBQ, to serve approximately 140,000 meals to survivors.

Going even further back, Seavers has coordinated efforts for his other non-profit, Walking Humbly Outdoor Adventures (W.H.O.A.), to provide responsible hunting and wildlife experiences for children of veterans and wounded or killed first responders.

Buck Shelton (left), and Micah Seavers – both co-directors of Camp G.R.A.V.E.S. – converse while standing outside what will eventually be used as a storage facility for the Graves County, Ky., property. ELIZABETH WONG BARNSTEAD | WKC

Seavers said that after the last tornado survivor has left Camp G.R.A.V.E.S. and moved on to permanent housing, the camp will remain a local fixture for emergency help whenever a natural disaster occurs.

He is happy that Camp G.R.A.V.E.S. is “very visible,” being located on Highway 45. It is not uncommon for people driving past to honk and wave at Seavers and the volunteers while they work outside.

Plus, “this isn’t just a random spot – this is my backyard,” he said, pointing across a field to his house, which is within walking distance of the campus.

Seavers said his father was a preacher, “but he never went anywhere rich, so we grew up poor.”

“My dad raised us to treat money like this,” he said, opening his arms wide to gesture around Camp G.R.A.V.E.S. “I’ve always had the faith to believe it’ll work out. If you’re doing good I believe it’ll work out.”

Shelton said Seavers has been an “inspiration to me,” and that “if anybody does have the faith of a mustard seed, it’s Micah.”

Seavers said Camp G.R.A.V.E.S. is about “getting people to realize ‘you can do more. You can do better.’”

“That’s our goal – to change people’s lives for the long term,” he said.

Learn more about Camp G.R.A.V.E.S. by visiting, calling (270) 970-0643 or emailing [email protected].

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