By Chris Bavender
When Dave Lytle saw the media coverage of the devastation caused by the tornadoes that swept through Kentucky on December 10, the Carmel businessman knew he wanted to help.
âI texted my main installer and told him I was thinking of going down, and he took about four minutes to respond and said, ‘I’m in it,’ said Lytle, owner of Concrete Craft. , I asked my son, Scott, and he was there, and he talked to his girlfriend, Lily (Eggleston), and she was also ready to follow along. “
So Lytle refueled that day and on December 12 he, Scott, and Lily left for the hard-hit town of Bowling Green, Kentucky. On December 13, master installer Steve Brown joined them.
âMonday morning we were contacting the Bowling Green Fire Department, who asked anyone wondering to meet with the city emergency management group in an area that was the dispatch center that was specific to everyone. volunteers who wanted to provide manpower and had chainsaws etc. Lytle said. âThey had six different areas on the storm route that were identified, and areas 1-4 were still closed to volunteers for safety reasons, as searches and rescues were still ongoing.â
The group was sent to a neighborhood deemed safe for the volunteers, where they encountered two people who were in bed when the tornado ravaged their home.
âIt was quite revealing as far as they survived. The roof was gone, but a good part of their house was still intact,â Lytle said. âMonday and Tuesday we worked there helping to recover what we could, by boxing it. We ran out of boxes, and all of a sudden, a truck would come by and drop off more boxes. “
On Wednesday, the group was cleared into Zone 1, which was one of the hardest hit areas. They had to provide code words for National Guard troops stationed there to be allowed in.
âIt was just devastating. There were at least a dozen houses that had just disappeared, three houses, in particular, where seven people had died. Technically six, because a little girl was still missing and they couldn’t find her, âLytle said. âWe took what was left of the houses, the drywall, the two-by-fours, the cinder blocks and the bricks, and we moved them to the sidewalk where heavy equipment would pass to pick them up. “
Later that day, the group returned to Indiana. Lytle said seeing the devastation in person was almost indescribable.
âHonestly, it was two totally different worlds, seeing it on the news and then on ours. The photos taken don’t even come close to being able to capture what I call the ‘360 degree in person view’ of what’s going on, âhe said. “Steve and I were talking about it, these images don’t even do justice how powerful and devastating it is.”
Lytle has no plans to return but is open to the possibility.
âWe had a job scheduled to start on Monday (December 13th) and the client was just wonderful. She sure told us to come down and let her know when we’re back, âLytle said. “I’m thinking about it but I have no plans to take another trip yet.”