Dave Graham is the cowboy in question, and he’s set himself up beside a Dawson Springs, Kentucky gas station. This happens to be around one of the hardest-hit spots of the town and he’s offering moral support to anyone who happens to drive by. At 62-years-old, Graham served in the military and in the insurance industry. These days though, he travels from his Ohio farm to help crisis victims around the country. This ranges from supply-running to words of encouragement to anyone willing to listen.
“You can do it!” he often shouts to people passing by the gas station. “You can do it! You guys will rebuild, you will!” That’s not all he’s offering Dawson Springs residents, NPR reports. He also has signs posted asking if people want to talk, he’ll listen. “I’m giving them a safe spot to come to without feeling like they’re gonna get preached at or diagnosed. And giving them a place to say, ‘Why has stuff like this happened?'” Graham said.
Town residents have happily taken him up on his offer, with one even being a local government official. “He needed to talk,” Graham told NPR. “Because he’s got the responsibilities of the city, and he’s got the responsibility to FEMA. And he’s got his own family.”
Though he has no formal training with counseling, Graham’s experience with natural disasters makes him easy to talk to, it seems. “I try to use open-ended questions and try to just shut my mouth. I got two ears; they don’t need to hear anybody talkin’.”
Sometimes simply knowing someone cares and will listen is enough.
Police Arrest Thieves for Stealing from Kentucky Tornado Victims
For every cowboy trying to help those in need, there’s an opportunist waiting to take advantage, sadly. Kentucky tornado victims also became victims of theft, but luckily, police arrested those responsible.
KFVS 12 reported the Graves County Sheriff’s Office arrested five suspects for theft in Mayfield, Kentucky. “It was reported that several suspects that appeared to have been working in a group were rummaging through persons personal property and loading vehicles that were destroyed by the tornado,” the sheriff’s office said.
Overall, sheriff’s deputies, along with Kentucky State Police Troopers, swarmed an area hit by the tornado and caught the group in the act of stealing. Authorities there found numerous personal items belonging to tornado victims, like household goods, new shoes, copper wiring, and muddy change. Additionally, they were in the middle of towing several vehicles belonging to injured or deceased tornado victims.
The suspects remain in out-of-county jails and the Graves County Sheriff’s Office says they are still investigating.