PADUCAH, KY (KFVS) - When an EF2 tornado tore through parts of Paducah, it almost meant the worst for 10 staff members and 40 children at Mt. Zion Baptist Church.
The storm tore the roof off the main worship hall, decimated windows and left parts of the building all over the surrounding fields. The front sign is warped to the point of being barely recognizable.
However, aside from the destruction, not a single staff member or child was hurt, according to Pastor Wes Connor.
“I don’t know how many of them will even remember it in years to come but we certainly all will,” he said.
When warnings and sirens went off, the staff put the children in the nursery room, which is in the middle of the main building.
Michelle Rushing, who is the director of the church’s daycare, laughed off people calling her a hero and said she was just doing her job and trying to keep the kids safe.
“It was scary,” she said, “we always did our monthly fire drills and tornado drills. So I knew what to do, but I don’t think anything really prepares you.”
She said she was worried about the worst of course, but the children did not.
“They didn’t think anything of it,” she said, “they just thought they were gonna stay in there and play. There were fine until the electricity went off. Then they were a little nervous. We were singing songs and we gave them flashlights so they were making little shapes on the walls. They were distracted.”
With the chaos over, about a hundred people arrived at the church today to start picking up the pieces and moving forward. Fellow church groups, neighbors, and friends all came out. Chick-Fil-A and Texas Roadhouse even catered for them.
“A church is people, a church is not a building,” said Conner, “but people have emotional attachments to this sanctuary. We will rebuild God’s property.”
Despite the damage by the tornado, services will be held on Sunday.