2022 Impact RT


By April 19, 2023No Comments

In December, families, and communities are busy preparing for the Christmas season by purchasing those last-minute presents and cleaning the house for Holiday gatherings. Church members are busy preparing for the yearly Christmas pageants and celebrating Jesus’s birth with their community. 

In December 2022, residents of several small Kentucky towns were unprepared for a devastating, violent, long-tracking tornado. 

This is the story of two families who experienced devastating losses and how God’s Pit Crew brought hope, healing, and restoration by providing them with brand-new homes. 


Hardin Family – Bremen, Kentucky


On December 10, the Hardin family started their day off like any regular day. Jon, Autumn, and their two kids had no idea that their lives would change forever by the end of that evening. 

The Hardins had been in town earlier in the evening, having dinner as a family after the workday ended.

“All the sirens started going off, and everyone’s phone went off. We were trying to decide what to do,” said Autumn. 

The family headed home to watch the storm to see if they needed shelter. 

“My husband was watching the storm from the porch. He wanted to go somewhere, but I was tired from working all day and just wanted to stay home. We decided to go to our Church for a little bit because my husband felt safer at the Church.”

The Hardins went to their Church but decided to head back home once the storm had appeared to die down a little. However, the storm was far from being over. 

“We hadn’t been home very long. My little boy had fallen asleep in our bed, and then the power goes out,” said Autumn. 

“My mom and sister were in our group chat chatting about how we just lost power, and they were saying they heard a tornado had touched down in a certain place. My husband came in from the porch and said ‘we need to get in the closet. And I mean NOW.”

Autumn, her husband Jon, and their two children got in the closet. Jon shut the door, and they were all in a huddle. Within seconds, the tornado hit their home. 

Autumn shared the terrifying moment when the tornado picked up her and her family. 

“We started to feel our house moving, and we started praying. I could feel we were being blown out. Something hit me in the head, and then I’m guessing I was thrown down face-first on the ground because I was eating dirt. I don’t know how long I was in the air being blown about whenever we did land, my daughter was on one side of me, and my son was on the other. I was able to hold their hands to keep them calm and talking. It was so cold it would not quit raining.

Autumn and her children lay on the ground for at least 15 to 20 minutes before help arrived. However, Autumn did not know where Jon was.

“I never saw my husband, but I could hear him,” said Autumn. 

Autumn’s husband, Jon, was just one of the 11 people that lost their life in Bremen that night. Autumn had severe injuries, and their children had minor injuries. Autumn had several broken bones, fractures, and internal injuries. These injuries required her to have several surgeries. She was in the hospital for 17 days after the tornado. 

‘I was on a ventilator for three days, and my family talked about how they were scared; they didn’t know if I would survive or what would happen. Thankfully the Lord spared me, so my kids have at least me, and I was able to survive, so I have them,” said Autumn,

“There are days that are hard to face without my husband, but knowing I have my children, gives me the strength that I need to face them. 13 years with my husband wasn’t enough, but I’m sure if I had 25 with him, I probably still stay the same.”

After meeting Autumn and hearing her story, God’s Pit Crew committed to building Autumn and her two children a brand new home. 

“To say thank you did not feel like enough. God’s Pit Crew heard my story and that they felt led to build me a house is a great blessing for my children. To know that they have somewhere they will be able to feel safe and have somewhere to go, somewhere that I can raise my kids, somewhere that I can feel safe raising them and that it will be all mine,” said Autumn.

On May 27, Autumn and her children received the keys to their brand-new home. 

“There are no words that can ever describe what it feels, what it means, and how much we appreciate it,” said Autumn. 

“I could say thank you every day and I don’t know that it will be enough… don’t ever let something for somebody tell you that’s not worth it, because it is! To those who have given, thank you very much for letting God use you, and for the volunteers who give their time for helping we all appreciate it very much.”


Vanover Family – Central City, Kentucky

Finding out that a tornado has destroyed everything you have built and worked for your entire life in seconds is something that no family should experience. For Jeff and Lisa Vanover of Central City, Kentucky, it became their reality on the evening of December 10, 2021. 

Jeff, a retired masonry/construction worker, and Lisa, a custodian at the local school, have been married for over 40 years and built the home they shared. 

On the day the storm hit, there had already been two smaller storms that hit Central City and destroyed a local lumber company. 

“I had a cousin call me and asked if he could stay at my house because usually, that is where we would all gather because it was partially underground,” said Jeff.

While the cousin went to Jeff and Lisa’s home, Jeff stayed with his mom, who was homebound and did not leave her home.

“Any other time I would have carried her out, but for some reason, I just gave in and said ‘Mama, we’ll ride the storm out here.’ And we did.”

“It was a monster. It growled, and vibrated from inside the house,” said Jeff. The storm shook Jeff’s mom’s house and did minor cosmetic damage, but that was it.

After the storm passed, Jeff went out with his flashlight and headed toward his house.

“I saw my cousin and thought he was out looking for damage, but he was actually trying to get out of the wreckage.”

Jeff’s cousin was in the back room, got into a small spot, and took cover there as the storm hit and destroyed Jeff and Lisa’s home. Thankfully, he was not injured at all. 

“I asked him what did I lose? He said ‘Everything’s gone.’ At that point, mom was good, so I tried to call Lisa and get a hold of her,” Jeff said. 

Lisa was trying to make her way home when the tornado hit but couldn’t get through. 

“I spoke with him once then tried to call back and couldn’t get through for at least 40 minutes. When I finally did get through he told me we’ve lost our home. I saw single-wide trailers that were fine, and I just couldn’t fathom the house being gone since it was in the ground,” said Lisa. 

With downed trees and emergency vehicles on the roads, Lisa parked her car in someone’s driveway, and she and Jeff started walking through the wooded area to meet up with each other. 

“When we finally did make it back to the house at about 4:00 a.m., I just couldn’t believe our house was gone.”

God’s Pit Crew began searching for families to help after the storm, and after hearing Jeff and Lisa’s story, GPC Founders Randy and Terri Johnson chose the Vanover’s to receive a brand new home built by GPC volunteers.

“I got the call for the interview, and I thought well it is somebody wanting to help…I didn’t know what it was going to be but I didn’t know it was going to be this,” said Jeff. 

“Nobody does that. Nobody builds you a home. I visualized it, I even told my girlfriend I said ‘I’m gonna have to go get me some new pajamas, because I’m gonna feel like a little Queen when I walk in there,” said Lisa. 

In May, a team of God’s Pit Crew volunteers returned to Kentucky to rebuild not one but two homes simultaneously. God’s Pit Crew built the Vanover’s house from the ground up in just three weeks!