1 year later: Hospital employee recalls her experience the night of the Mayfield tornado

A year ago this Saturday marks the one year anniversary of the deadly Mayfield tornado. Today, another business returning to the western Ky. community
Published: Dec. 7, 2022 at 4:51 PM CST
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MAYFIELD, Ky. (KFVS) - A year ago Saturday will mark the one year anniversary of the deadly Mayfield tornado.

On Wednesday, December 7, another business is reopening to the western Kentucky community. Mercy Health held a ribbon cutting for their new homecare and hospice office, it’s previous building was destroyed by the tornado on December 10, 2021.

One employee who will work at the new building said it’s a night she won’t forget.

”It was very eerie because the clouds and the sky were very, just ominous looking, so you kind of knew something was different about it,” Carla Sims, medical social worker at Mercy Health Hospice recalled.

On the night of December 10, Carla Sims and here co-workers were enjoying a Christmas party in Benton, Kentucky. On her drive home to Mayfield, she learned about the devastating event.

“My son called me and said, ‘Mom, Mayfield is gone,’” Sims said.

As she got closer to her home, that’s when she noticed a man walking on the side of the road.

“He just was stunned looking, I don’t know how else to explain it, but he just looked like he was staring off and something told me in my heart just to stop and check on him. So, I rolled my window down a little bit. I said, ‘Are you okay?’ He said, ‘I think so,’” Sims said.

When asked why she decided to stop and help someone, she said she didn’t know.

“...I can’t really answer that. Just maybe God perking my spirit you know, my heart. I just knew it was the right thing to do,” she continued.

For Sims, Mayfield is more than just a home, it’s also the community where she works for Mercy Health.

On that December night, her training kicked in and she knew this was someone who needed help.

“He said, ‘I’m walking to Fancy Farm.’ I said, ‘Well, it’s still raining.’ I said, ‘Get in the car.’ He had no shoes on and so he got into my car and he said, ‘I called my mom. She’s on her way to get me.’ And I said, ‘Are you okay?’ He said, ‘I’m okay, but I don’t think the lady next to me survived,’” Sims said.

That man worked at the candle factory where nine of his co-workers were killed.

The tornado destroyed Carla’s office in Mayfield, but that didn’t stop her from working for the past year.

Now, there’s a new building to replace the one that was destroyed.

In the meantime, she still wonders what happened to the man she helped on the side of the road.

“I haven’t seen him since, but I’ve been wondering, like, how he’s doing or but I have prayed for him and thought about him in my heart so many times,” she said.

On the one-year anniversary Saturday, December 10, the city of Mayfield is hosting a “Celebration of Hope - We Will Remember” service starting at 2:30 p.m. at the Graves County High School gym.