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Story by Kalea Anderson for NBC WSPD 6 Local News

MAYFIELD, KY — Some in Mayfield are moving on to the rebuilding phase after an EF-4 tornado ripped through neighborhoods. Now, thanks to help from Homes and Hope for Kentucky, they don’t have to do it alone. Many organization have stepped up to provide food and supplies, but Homes and Hope For Kentucky’s goal is aimed toward long-term recovery by rebuilding homes.

The organization is operating under the umbrella of Rotary International, along with Mayfield Graves County Rotary Foundation. They are partnering with Mennonite Disaster Service to provide free labor for services such as demolition and rebuilding. They plan to rebuild 100 homes in Mayfield. It starts with an application process. If approved, people can rebuild their homes at little to no cost.

Homes and Hope for Kentucky launched with seed money of $100,000 with the help of an anonymous donor. A bank in Cincinnati has also agreed to donate $20,000 for every house they rebuild. This, along with FEMA funds in some cases, allows home owners to pay little to nothing for a new home. They understand not everyone is approved by FEMA. While FEMA does contribute to the overall funds of rebuilding, home owners are not required to be approved by FEMA.

There are two separate application processes for Homes and Hope for Kentucky. The first application is for demolition, and the second is for the rebuilding phase. Those applications can be found here. They’re also asking for donations to minimize rebuilding costs for home owners.

Bill Patterson lost his home to the tornado on Dec. 10, and his home is the first to be demolished through the project. As you can imagine, it was an emotional day for the Patterson family.

“It’s bittersweet. Very bitter more than it is sweet,” says Patterson.

With tears in his eyes, Patterson, and his wife, watched their home of 37 years get torn down.

"Well, we just don't know what could happen tomorrow. I know for sure that my Lord and Savior is in control."

— Bill Patterson, homeowner in Mayfield, Kentucky

“My kids grew up here. My grand kids grew up here, some of my great grand kids. You know, they’ve all been a part of this house,” says Patterson.

That’s where Homes and Hope for Kentucky comes. Their goal is to rebuild homes in Mayfield, and it starts with demolition.

“We do this, but not very long — maybe a month or two. Then, we go into rebuilding homes. We rely on the local community to tell us which folks need it,” says Tom Smucker.

Smucker, with Mennonite Disaster Service, is in Mayfield for the long haul. His team will provide free labor services for those who qualify for the program. It’s mainly for those who don’t have home insurance or are low income.

“If you have insurance, you got the funds to do it. We really can’t help you. We’ll let the money do the work. We’re all volunteers, so it’s working with the needy folks that need the volunteer help,” says Smucker.

The past few weeks have been a whirlwind for Patterson, but there are brighter days ahead.

“Well, we just don’t know what could happen tomorrow. I know for sure that my Lord and Savior is in control,” says Patterson.

Homes and Hope for Kentucky still needs donations to help local families stay in Mayfield. To make a tax deductible donation to the group or to apply for assistance, click here.

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