Governor Beshear helps reopen Mayfield Youth Center and marks Christmas in July | Toys
MAYFIELD, Ky. (WSIL) – Gov. Andy Beshear (D-Kentucky) stopped by Mayfield Tuesday after the seventh anniversary of the Dec. 10 tornado.
Beshear arrived at the Mayfield Youth Development Center, one of many buildings damaged by the storm last winter.
The Governor, joined by First Lady Britainy Beshear, praised the efforts of first responders and community leaders. Beshear also took the time to recognize three men who stayed in the youth center to protect the children during the storms.
“You could have left and gone home and probably no one would have blamed you,” Governor Beshear said. “But you have huddled in the safest place with these children and you have made sure that every child in this establishment is safe. God bless you.”
After attending the official inauguration of the center, the Beshears received handcrafted gifts made by the children of the center. Governor Beshear said these items will be hung outside the governor’s office.
After the inauguration, the governor traveled to the Purchasing Area Development District where organizers held a “Christmas in July” event for local children.
Britainy Beshear led a toy drive in the aftermath of the tornado.
“I was walking the dog and I felt helpless and the idea for the toy drive came to me and I thought maybe we’d have a couple thousand toys,” Beshear said.
Soon Beshear’s toy drive ended up collecting nearly 200,000 toys last Christmas.
“We still had warehouses full of toys,” Beshear said. “These toys were given to children in Western Kentucky and so it is important that they stay in Western Kentucky.”
Salvador Medina was one of hundreds of children who returned home with a gift, saying he was grateful for the chance to pick up a toy for free.
“I’ve got some pretty cool stuff, I’ve had Beyblades,” Medina said. “I feel really happy.”
A trio of boys named Carl, Ian & Jude stopped by with their mum and shared their experiences last December.
“I just remember hiding in the basement with my brothers…and the power went out and the line broke…and there were two dogs there,” the boys said, collectively .
The three ended up getting their presents but also brought a present back to one of their cousins.
Governor Beshear says this event is a way to help children overcome trauma by providing a space for positivity and kindness.
“These children who went through so much trauma were so resilient. It’s a day they all feel special,” Governor Beshear said. “If we can give them a lot of good days, then they help thwart this tough night.”
Governor Beshear and the first lady attended a second event in Graves County after their stop in Mayfield. The Beshears hope to donate all donated toys before their final stop at Princeton in two weeks.