Couple survives storm after house is picked up with them inside

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Published: Dec. 14, 2021 at 8:36 PM CST
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DAWSON SPRINGS, Ky. (WFIE) - A home in Dawson Springs was picked up during the tornado in western Kentucky while occupants were still inside.

The home of Gary and Judy Ashlock was picked up and carried several feet, with his parents inside. Their son, also named Gary, came in from Evansville after the storm to take them to the hospital.

“My mom said that she had a text typed out to my wife and she went to press send, and she said ‘it’s starting to get loud I think it’s here’ or something like that. She went to press send, couldn’t get it to go through, and the next thing she knew the roof was gone,” Gary said.

As Gary goes through what’s left of his parents home, he says it’s a miracle his mom and dad made it out alive with a few cuts and bruises.

“They’re healthy overall, as good as can be expected. We’ve got them up in Evansville with us. We count our blessings because we know a lot of people in this area, well, they don’t have that,” he said.

Gary has fond memories on the the street he grew up on. While the homes on it are gone with the wind, his memories of them are not.

“My goodness we used to ride. We had this little bicycle gang that lived on the street and we would ride up Keegan and Hall and Oak Heights. My dad worked at a grocery store, it used to be Davis’s Best Way,” Gary said.

Now, those streets he came to love are unrecognizable.

“Having grown up here, knowing these streets like the back of my hand and seeing the destruction, that’s what really got to me because I couldn’t pick out what street was what,” he said.

But Gary works through his feelings of shock and disbelief, to find what memories are left in his parents home before the rain comes later this week.

“My sister passed away three years ago, and you can’t replace those photos. There’s no new ones coming.”

So he’ll continue filling a box of photos he’s found so far, until the rain washes everything else away.

“Clothes can be replaced, we’ve talked about that, clothes can be replaced, you can replace dishes. But replacing memories, you can’t do that. We’re chucking things aside that most people would put value on so that we can find pictures,” Gary said.

Gary says a silver lining has been running into his good friends from high school while being back.

They’ve been able to lift each other up through all of this loss.

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