Thayer gets bird’s-eye view of tornado damage

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By Bryan Marshall

Sen. Damon Thayer, R-Georgetown, received a bird’s eye view of the damage caused by tornadoes in Grant County and other parts of Kentucky.

Once he learned of the damage in Crittenden and Piner, Thayer contacted Gov. Steve Beshear’s office.

He subsequently was invited to fly in a Kentucky National Guard Black Hawk helicopter Saturday as the governor assessed storm damage across the state.

They first landed in West Liberty in Morgan County, which Thayer said was without a doubt the hardest hit area in the state.

“It was like a bomb had gone off there,” he said. “Basically, an entire town has been wiped out. It was like a surreal scene out of some kind of horror movie, but it was real. It affected real people and real lives.”

The helicopter also made stops in Magoffin County and Piner. Thayer was was with the governor in Piner when he took a call from President Barack Obama.

“I’m no fan of President Obama, but it was pretty cool,” Thayer said. “It just goes to show us that, in times of crisis, we put aside of partisan labels and try to work together to make sure that people have the resources they need to deal with this kind of crisis.”

On the way back, the helicopter flew over Crittenden and the Harvesters Subdivision.

“You could see the damage in Harvesters was immense,” Thayer said. “There was a lot of roof damage. You could see the tarps were up. My hat’s off to Judge (Darrell) Link and Mayor (Jim) Livingood and all the emergency management personnel in Grant County. They responded very quickly and got the situation under control.”

Thayer described his experience as “life-altering.”

“I had never seen tornado damage in person like that,” he said. “I’d seen it on TV, but to see the enormity of it from the air in a helicopter was overwhelming. It left me speechless.”