Community

U.S. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell saw some of the Warren County neighborhoods Friday where last weekend’s tornadoes damaged or destroyed 900 homes and killed 17 county residents.

The long-time Kentucky senator stopped at the Bowling Green clearinghouse for tornado response volunteers.

McConnell saw the destroyed homes where 12 of the 17 Warren County residents lost their lives in the tornado. As of Sunday afternoon, Gov. Andy Beshear said the statewide death toll from the tornadoes that ravaged western and southern parts of the commonwealth was 78, although other state officials were still reporting 75.

McConnell said FEMA and other agencies are working as quickly as possible to help local residents impacted by the storm.

“The federal money will flow in here easily for the first month. After that it becomes more complicated,” McConnell said. “We’ll be working with local officials and homeless people to try to get them back up and running.”

At the Western Kentucky University Center for Research and Development that’s set up as a clearinghouse for volunteers, McConnell complimented the well-organized effort.

Volunteer coordinator Clay Mullins said McConnell’s visit was important.

“I think it’s great that Senator McConnell comes. I think it’s great that he draws attention to what’s happening down here,” said Mullins. “You know, it shows he loves our city, like we do.”

Mullins said the volunteer center has sent out more than 3,000 people with chainsaws to clear debris and on other recovery projects during the week since the tornado.