FREEMONT — As part of Bread of Life Humanitarian Effort, Tim Pierce has responded to disasters across the state and country.

The Lowes, Kentucky-based ministry focuses on disaster relief, and in just the last 18 months, Pierce has twice responded to communities close to home.

“It’s one thing to deal with disasters that are not local, but then when you have a local disaster, it hits home,” said Pierce, as he prepared to cover a roof in the Freemont area of McCracken County that was damaged by an EF-2 tornado that touched down Friday, March 3, damaging dozens of homes.

No one was injured in the storm.

Pierce praised the volunteer response in the wake of the twister that left uprooted trees, snapped power lines and some completely destroyed buildings over a path a mile and a half long.

“I was out here right after it happened, and there were already people with chainsaws, just neighbors and individuals, working to help clear the road and help people get in and out of their homes,” Pierce said.

Just up the road, a group of students from Trinity Christian College, in Chicago, cleared debris, sorting the wreckage into piles of organic and non-organic material.

Some originally hailed from Russia, Korea, Nigeria, Brazil and Mexico.

Director of Multicultural Engagement Nicole Saint-Victor said the school’s SERVE Team first came to the area in the wake of the Dec. 10, 2021 tornado outbreak that devastated Mayfield, as well as parts of Dawson Springs and Princeton.

“We didn’t know anybody. We just showed up and started walking around.”

That response led to a relationship with Heartland Church that’s seen the group come to the area regularly to help with its ACTS Ministry.

“We’ve gotten to the point where this is home for us,” Saint-Victor said.

“Several of our students have been here so many times that it’s just like showing up at a relative’s house to help,” she said.

And though some of the volunteers hope to get experience in disaster relief, the group includes students majoring in music, theology, social work and business.

“What the students benefit from is more than just trash pickup. It’s community, it’s getting to know Paducah. They’re really invested in being part of the community.”

Pierce said he’s glad to be a part of such vital work, and called the outpouring of help “phenomenal.”

“We’re trying to pay forward what the Lord’s done for us. He’s been merciful and kind to us, so we’re doing the same.”