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Magoffin officials get national award for life-saving efforts during tornado

Reprinted from WYPT Mountain News, Feb 5, 2013

StormReady Heros receive award in Magoffin, KY, see story and names below

MAGOFFIN COUNTY, Ky. (WYMT) - Two county officials and two stories of heroism.

The National Weather Service honored Magoffin County Judge Executive Charles 'Doc' Hardin and Deputy Judge Executive/Emergency Management Director Mike Wilson for their life-saving efforts during the March 2 tornado outbreak.

They tell two incredible stories from a night many in Magoffin County will never forget.

"My truck was shaking. I said 'this is not good.' By the time I got to the BP on the parkway it was there. Everything was flying, but I knew I had to get to the other side," Wilson recounted.

"I have a 10-year-old daughter and she said 'you can't go out, Daddy,' and I stooped down to where she was and I said 'you go downstairs and you take care of your momma. This is my job,'" said Hardin.

As the monster tornado dropped onto Salyersville the two officials sprang into action warning people to take shelter.

"Didn't think nothing of it. Just tried to save lives," said Wilson.

Their actions did not go unnoticed. On Tuesday the National Weather Service honored the men with StormReady Community Hero Awards, crediting them with saving the lives of nearly 50 people.

"It's humbling because all I was doing was doing my job," said Wilson.

But they say what is more impressive is they way their community stuck together since that night.

"We're a family," said Hardin.

While there are still signs of the devastation that March tornado left behind, many businesses and homes have rebuilt from the ground up, and community leaders say they are proud of the way their county has come back.

"I don't think this community will ever be the same again. I think it's better," said Hardin.

They call it a blessing not a single life was lost in Magoffin County.

"March the 2nd can be a day of thanksgiving instead of a day of mourning in Magoffin County," said Hardin.

Many say it is all thanks to them.

The StormReady Community Hero award is a national award. This is only the seventh time the award has been given.

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Last Updated: February 26, 2001