A Mayfield native volunteers after losing three family members

MAYFIELD, Ky. (WCBI)- Kiah Cooper feels firsthand the devastating effects of the tornado that ripped through her hometown of Mayfield, Kentucky.

Her cousin, aunt, and grandma, who she calls ‘Nana’, all died in the storm.

“They lived on family land of ours,” says Cooper. “They had two trailers on that land. My cousin Derek was found Friday night by firefighters. Saturday afternoon around 1:30 PM, my nana and my aunt were found and they were… crushed underneath the trailer that they lived in.”

As Cooper navigates the shock and grieving process, she says she knows one way to heal – is to help.

So when she started looking for ways to help neighbors and friends, her supervisor at work introduced her to Jeff Dudley, owner of the Yardbird Bento food truck in Columbus, Mississippi.

“He welcomed me with open arms.”

Dudley traveled over 200 miles to Kentucky to serve free food to the Mayfield community.

Cooper immediately stepped into a volunteer, lending a hand preparing food and serving around 3.000 people a day.

Healing and helping. That is how Kiah is coping with the aftermath.

“I’m not the type of person to sit still and dwell on things and let the emotion take over. People keep asking me what can I do or what can they do to make things better for me and all I can keep asking for is to keep praying. The only thing I want back is my family and I can’t get that back. So the most that I can do is give back to my community don’t have food, don’t have water, don’t even have clothes. People have lost their children and the most that I can do is be there.”

While the recovery for the town of Mayfield may take years, Cooper says her community has a bond that is now stronger than ever.

“The most we can do is ask, ‘Hey what can do for you? What can I bring you? Do you need somewhere to stay?’ We’re all in the same boat. We don’t have power. We don’t have water. Even the people who don’t have anything are still offering ‘what can I do for you? What can I bring for you?’ I’ve never seen my community so closer right now than we are today.”

Kiah Cooper’s family has set up a GoFundMe to pay for funeral expenses.

Kiah’s family is just one of many who are grieving at this time.

@HeartlandCapital is a Venmo address setup by volunteer coordinators in Mayfield.

Categories: Featured, Local News, News Team, Storm Damage, Weather News