NEWS | Dec. 14, 2021

Leaders visit Soldiers activated for help in the wake of deadly tornadoes

By Sgt. Jesse Elbouab 133rd Mobile Public Affairs Detachment

Kentucky’s State Command Sergeant Major, Command Sgt. Maj. Jesse Withers and State Chaplain (Col.) Jay Padgett the visited Soldiers at various locations impacted by recent tornados in Graves County, Ky., Dec. 14.

"Today, I saw our Soldiers motivated and happy to do their part in helping any way they can," said Withers. "We want them to know their state leadership is not only thinking about them, but we are here to have a better understanding of what we can do to assist in accomplishing their mission."

Padgett also spoke with several Soldiers on the ground. At one of the locations, he asked a recent basic training graduate,

"Is this what you expected when joined the Kentucky National Guard? As the young Soldiers replied, "yes, I am glad I'm here," to which Padgett echoed, "I'm glad you are here too."

During the two-hour visit, leadership traveled to the Mayfield Consumer Products facility, better known as the candle factory site.

They stopped to visit Soldiers at locations along the way.

They also surveyed downtown Mayfield and spoke with various organizations in the town's improvised emergency management response center and received an entire perspective on just how vast the devastation is in the western part of the state from the air.

"This place is riddled with unfathomable sadness," Padgett said to himself while photographing a downtown church in ruin.

"Our first mission is to serve our state," he said. "This is what we do, and this is what we do the best. I am proud of our Soldiers."

The joy in the Soldiers' faces at each location truly attested to how vital the visit was to them after long days and nights at their checkpoints.

"Let's take care of each other while we’re out here taking care of everybody else," implored Withers prior to departing.

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