December 1, 2023 | Local News
Fr. Stephen Van Lal Than

Vicki Duncan, SVDP community liaison, plays with a young survivor of the 2021 tornadoes during a Nov. 11 pre-Thanksgiving celebration for Mayfield tornado survivors. COURTESY OF BELINDA ABELL

St. Vincent de Paul continues to serve 2021 tornado survivors


On Nov. 11, St. Vincent de Paul – Diocesan Council of Western Kentucky, Inc. hosted a pre-Thanksgiving celebration in Mayfield, Ky., with 50 tornado survivor families. Many survivors expressed their gratitude for SVDP’s national House in a Box program.

One survivor, Tommy Jackson, singled out SVDP community liaison, Vicki Duncan, saying, “Miss Vicki was so helpful through it all. When I didn’t know where to go or what to do, she gave me direction. She is truly a blessing.” When he left, Jackson shared with Duncan a handmade afghan and several scripture quotes that are dear to him.

During the day survivors had a chance to visit with two SVDP Diocesan Council board members Nancy Harris, president; and Harry Bellew, vice president. Harris reflected on the day, “Journeying with the survivors in their recovery is essential so they know they’re not forgotten; we as Vincentians are the long-term recovery people. When everyone else is gone, we’re still here to help; western Kentucky is our home. I was humbled by their gratitude. Their stories made it so real for me. It was also a great opportunity for us to visit with our special Mayfield Vincentians (St. Joseph Conference) – they are our local boots on the ground.”

The Mayfield Vincentians provided fellowship and wonderful hospitality to the survivor families, including delicious food and refreshments.

Unfortunately, there are still so many unmet needs. SVDP Diocesan Council CEO, Richard B. Remp-Morris says, “We are thankful for the resources to continue to help tornado survivors. We have seen such generosity from our donors, especially SVDP Disaster Services Corporation and the American Red Cross, however, the need is still so great. It has been a privilege and at the same time personally rewarding to be able to serve the western Kentucky tornado survivors.”

As families left, each were gifted a new microwave, a tin of holiday cookies, and a $50 gift card towards their Thanksgiving meal. All children received a small bag of candy.

Donations for tornado survivors are still being accepted by St. Vincent de Paul – Diocesan Council of Western Kentucky, Inc. If you would like to contribute visit or send your contribution to SVDP P.O. Box 1203 Owensboro KY 42302-1203

Belinda Abell is the external affairs director for St. Vincent de Paul – Diocesan Council of Western Kentucky, Inc.

Originally printed in the December 2023 issue of The Western Kentucky Catholic.

Current Issue

Publisher |  Bishop William F. Medley
Editor |  Elizabeth Wong Barnstead
Contributors |  Riley Greif, Rachel Hall
Layout |  Rachel Hall
Send change of address requests to [email protected]