Over the weekend, a powerful tornado tore through western Kentucky and parts of Tennessee, Missouri, Mississippi, Arkansas, and Illinois.
The devastation has left dozens dead and hundreds missing as it destroyed homes and livelihoods across hundreds of miles. The aftermath left the area completely unrecognizable, with locals waking up to what seemed like a ghost town.
As authorities carry on with search and rescue operations, at least 74 casualties have been confirmed in Kentucky, the hardest-hit state. Another 109 people remain unaccounted for.
In these times of tragedy, one man took it upon himself to bring light and hope to the people in the small town of Mayfield. His name is Jim Finch, a man who drove half an hour with his massive grill and a truckload of food to cook for the residents.
He parked the truckload full of food right in the middle of the town, where journalist Victor Ordoñez spotted him and asked what he was up to. When asked about his kind act, the Good Samaritan gave a humble response.
“I know they don’t have no electricity, so that means they don’t have no electric, no restaurants, no running water, so I just figured I’d do what I can do,” he told Ordoñez. “Show up with some food and some water.”
Before Finch set up his grill, Ordoñez captured a panoramic view of the area showing ruined buildings and an endless expanse of rubble. Later, a church service was held in the parking lot across the street from Finch’s spot.
“Jim wore a smile the whole morning, we laugh when I asked if he had a restaurant. He shook his head, “it just needed to be done,” Ordoñez wrote on Twitter.
Finch was born in Paducah, Kentucky, but felt the need to come to the tornado-rocked Mayfield bringing his truckload of food.
In a follow-up video, Ordoñez asked Finch what he was cooking.
“Hamburgers, chicken, I got sausage, eggs – just a little simple stuff that you can have and not have to worry about making a mess,” he responded. “You know, grab and go type of food.”
As of writing, Ordoñez’s video of Finch has been viewed 6.5 million times. His efforts were applauded by thousands of people online. Here are some of their heartwarming comments:
“This is what a true hero and a real patriot looks like! Thank you! What an awesome human being!”
“This is an example of what you see when tight knit communities come together in time of need. Mayfield is surrounded by small rural communities. I’m sure he is one shining example of others who have come together in some way or another to help in whatever way they can.”
“Every once in a while there is a story that gives you back a little of your faith in humanity. Thank you Jim Finch.”
Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear said over 100 people were working inside the Mayfield Consumer Products candle factory when it collapsed. The company’s spokesperson, Bob Ferguson, said there have been eight confirmed deaths while another eight remain missing. 90 of the employees have been located.
Mayfield Mayor Kathy Stewart O’Nan said the situation is dire:
“Our infrastructure is so damaged,” she said in an interview with CBS Mornings. “We have no running water. Our water tower was lost. Our wastewater management was lost, and there’s no natural gas to the city. So we have nothing to rely on there. So that is purely survival at this point for so many of our people.”
It will take a while before the community heals. But until then, people like Finch and many others continue to act as beacons of hope during this tumultuous period in Kentucky history.
If you want to help Jim Finch feed more people in Mayfield, you may donate to his CashApp at $JimmyFinch1.
Here’s Finch’s response when asked about his kind act.
— Victor Ordoñez (@TheOrdonezTimes) December 12, 2021