Salyersville church rebuilding more than two years after tornado outbreak

SALYERSVILLE, Ky. (WYMT) - For more than two years the congregation at Saint Luke Catholic Church in Salyersville have met in a small trailer. The Magoffin County church now hopes to soon have a new place to worship.

It is a moment many hope to never relive.

"The noise, what happened ... it was horrifying," says Helen Pennington, who remembers the day vividly as she took shelter in the church basement.

"Something hit the roof ... the whole top went off," remembers Pennington.

A tornado wiping out the church, one of the first things folks saw as they entered the small town of Salyersville on the Mountain Parkway.

Now, more than two years later they are watching their church building rise from the ground that for months was a sign of destruction

Sister Jan Barthel says, "After watching nothing happening for 25 months it just seems surreal."

"It's a big relief we are getting it back, getting our church," says Pennington.

Proving the tornado might have rocked their building's foundation but could not shake their faith.

Father Bob Damron says, "Even from the destruction of March 2nd two years ago, because of our energy, our faith, our love, our strength, and our pride ... that we can rebuild from the ashes."

They say the building is not just a symbol of their church's strength, but represents the strength their entire community continues to show.

Rick Whitley says, "After the tornado hit, I was very proud of Magoffin County...because they all pulled together."

"I think it is hopeful ... you know Magoffin, Salyersville is here to stay," says Barthel.

Father Damron says the new church will be bigger than their old one, holding about one hundred people. He says they hope to be in their new building for Christmas mass.

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