Our Current Mission
In the aftermath of the December 10th 2021 tornado that devastated Mayfield, Ky and the surrounding area, it was immediately apparent that housing for displaced victims and their families was not going to have a quick fix. When disaster strikes whether it be a tornado, house fire, flood or any number of scenarios finding immediate housing is always difficult. Camp G.R.A.V.E.S. is a part of the solution to this problem. At this time our focus is on tornado victims. We will provide them with rent free temporary housing for up to 18 months allowing time for permanent housing to be rebuilt and for them to recuperate mentally and financially. The camp consists of tiny houses and hook-ups for campers or shipping container houses. The camp includes a Laundry House on site so families can conveniently wash clothes, an Education Building that will provide classes on life skills, connect residents with resources, skills training, GED classes, job fairs and other programs to assist residents and the community in not only rebuilding their lives back but building back better. While the camp is being constructed, Camp G.R.A.V.E.S has been providing housing by making repairs to existing vacant rental homes around the area. Repairs are being done in exchange for rent, with up to a year no rent for occupants and with homeowners agreeing to maintain their pre-tornado rental fees once the free rent period expires. Once the work is done Camp G.R.A.V.E.S. will be housing approximately 30 family units at the main campsite not including the families housed in rentals. Camp G.R.A.V.E.S. is working to fill in the gap between displacing disaster and permanent housing. With this effort we hope to give these families the opportunity to break any negative cycle they are in, become homeowners, improve their employment situation, get educational training or classes, and find the support and community they need to “become a product of opportunity, not a victim of circumstance.”
The Long Term Mission
We get asked often about what comes next after all the tornado victims have found permanent housing. Well, the short answer is Camp GRAVES will still be here! The camp will become part of the disaster preparedness for Graves County and the surrounding area. House fires, floods, tornadoes, long term power outages and other disasters will come and having emergency housing at the ready puts our area ahead in preparedness for the inevitable. When someone experiences a displacing disaster a million things run through their mind, one being, “where are we going to live?” Camp GRAVES is the answer to that question. With a phone call families can find some peace of mind knowing they will have a place to lay their head while they figure out where to start on the road to rebuilding. While we may not always be full of disaster victims Camp GRAVES has a long-term goal for everything it has and does. Some of the housing will be used for our “Fostering Potential” program for aging out foster children which will provide them with housing, support, and resources to prepare them for adulthood and independence. Camp GRAVES will also host camps for foster children, veterans, youth groups, and other camps to promote growth and community. The Education Building will continue providing classes on life skills, connect residents with resources, skills training, GED classes, job fairs and other programs to provide opportunities for individuals to break the cycle, giving them the tools to build a better life and obtain their goals that may have previously seemed out of reach.
Also, Camp GRAVES will respond to other disasters in our region. With our emergency response supply trailer, concession stand, volunteers, skills, and time we will aid disaster devastated areas. Cooperating with local emergency management teams we will provide meals, hygiene products, cleaning supplies, and basic necessities to affected victims. The scope of our response will depend on the type of disaster, location, funds, supply donations and volunteer availability. As we know firsthand it doesn’t matter the size of the organization because even helping one person makes an impact on the recovery effort.
When not occupied or in use Camp GRAVES facilities will be available for use for a minimum donation. Please call 270-970-0643 for availability and donation amount requested.
Meet Our Board Members
These individuals have come together to fulfill the mission of Camp G.R.A.V.E.S. and uphold the integrity, transparency and equality of the organization.
When the tornado hit myself and so many others leapt into action to aide those in need how we were able. Once some of the smoke settled we saw a need and opportunity for growth. So, Buck Shelton and I with the help of so many others started a plan to help people take this opportunity to build back better. Taking personal property of mine that already host a non-profit, I expanded the buildable lot to house Camp GRAVES. While housing victims we also want to give them ever chance possible to grow through housing, education, support and resources. Having 5 kids I worry about the education and skills they will enter the world with. Seeing young and old alike that haven’t had that opportunity I want to see them given every opportunity to succeed and become a product of opportunity, not a victim of circumstance.
As a lifelong resident of Graves County the devastation of the tornado opened my eyes to the short and long term needs of the people of the county. As a husband and father I felt the need to act. As a board member of Camp GRAVES I am grateful to be a part of and witness to my community rebuilding to a better position than it was before the disaster. With the other board members, volunteers and supporters I feel encouraged about the future of our community and the role Camp GRAVES will continue to play in it.
Seeing the destruction of my birthplace was devastating but being a part of the rebuilding and recovery is a blessing. I saw firsthand the effect that this disaster had not just due to property loss but also the mental, physical, and emotional impact this one event had on our entire region. Camp Graves provides me the opportunity to help the victims of the December 2021 tornado now and facilitate relief to victims of disaster in the future.
I was directly affected by the December 10th tornado as I lost everything I owned while I was at work helping save the lives of others. Micah and his family immediately jumped in and helped my family and I as we tried to recover from its devastation, so when I was given the opportunity to join the board it was an absolute yes. My experience working in law enforcement, a lifelong resident of Graves County and being a direct victim of the December 10th tornado gives me a unique advantage as well as valuable insight I hope to bring to the board and I’m tremendously excited to be able to continuously serve my community.