Virgin Mary Statue Survives Hartford Tornado to Bring Hope to Many
Amid the tornado aftermath in Ohio County, a beacon of hope still stands. A statue of the Virgin Mary that survived the destruction brings strength to victims as they rebuild.
I believe in signs. When my father died in 2013, I prayed that Jesus would give me strength and peace through my grieving process. I didn't think I could bear to bury my hero. I prayed for hope, strength, healing, and a sign that he was okay. Jesus answered every single prayer. He still does today, and I call them "God Winks". Two months after he passed away, I had a "visit" from my father in my dream. It was so beautiful and a memory I'll cherish forever. I firmly believe that if you ask, he'll be there. I believe he delivered the statue for the same reason.
I just stepped away from typing to check a message that popped up on my phone. I had to snap a photo to share my "wink"! God is good.
Devastating Tornado Rips Through Ohio County
After deadly tornadoes hit Western Kentucky on December 10, 2021, residents in Ohio County were left to pick up the pieces. Centertown, North Hartford, and Olaton were the hardest hit in the area when a tornado passed through. Families lost everything from their homes, vehicles, barns, belongings, and even important documents after the historically-long tornado tore apart these rural communities. It's hard to comprehend how they'll even begin to rebuild after so much loss. It could take years to recover from the devastation that the tornado left in its wake. Our thoughts and prayers continue.
Virgin Mary Statue Still Stands
Kym Riley shares what the statue means to her and what makes this rural community so special. I had a chance to chat with her today, and she's very inspiring.
"This statue of Mary sits next to a building that was damaged by the tornados that passed through in December. She's been there ever since they came roaring through that fearful night. Every day I pass by her in our commute. One time I passed by and her face was in the mud. I couldn't bear it, so I turned around and wiped her off, and set her up. Apparently, I am not the only one who has been keeping Mary's face out of the mud. One time as I passed by she had blown over, and before I could turn around, someone else had pulled in to sit her up.
I know it's "just a statue" and was probably "mass-produced" but to me, she represents so much more. She represents Jesus' earthly mother first and foremost. But, she also represents love and faith beyond comprehension. In a way, she even represents our beautiful community of Hartford.
Since the tornadoes, I have witnessed so much faith and love. I've witnessed the joining of the hands of strangers in prayer. I've witnessed people LOVING THY NEIGHBOR and people traveling many miles to help those in need. It's been an inspiring thing to watch and be a part of. I'll continue to sit Mary up when the need arises and hope the others continue to, I have no doubt they will. That's just how we are around these parts."
Kym went on to share, "The first time I stopped I felt silly. There was a police officer watching traffic and since there's been so much mischief with people stealing from tornado victims, I explained to him what I was doing. He just smiled and said, "go ahead, ma'am". So I fixed her and have been keeping an eye on her ever since."
I hope the statue continues to shine a bright light on this amazing community. I pray that she's a source of comfort in the difficult days ahead. And, I hope that if you were affected by the tornado anywhere in Western Kentucky that you find peace. Not only is God with you, but so are many who care.