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Former Marine Raises Money to Buy Toys, Supplies for Kids Who Lost Their Homes in Deadly Tornadoes

  Amanda Casanova | Contributor | Wednesday, December 15, 2021
Former Marine Raises Money to Buy Toys, Supplies for Kids Who Lost Their Homes in Deadly Tornadoes

A former Marine who served three tours of duty in Iraq and Afghanistan is hoping to organize a donation drive to buy gifts for the children who lost their homes in Kentucky after deadly tornadoes ripped through the state.

“I’ve been deployed three times, I’ve seen war zones, I’ve seen absolute destruction, and nothing compared to it,” said Shawn Triplett, a resident of Mayfield, Kentucky.

According to CNN, after Triplett saw families at a local shelter that had been devastated by the storms, he decided to try to raise money for them on social media.

In his initial shopping trip to Walmart, Triplett was able to buy $2,000 worth of toys for the children. All of the money raised was from friends and strangers. Word quickly spread, and the next day, Triplett raised another $6,000 in donations, which was used for toys, games and backpacks.

“It just really blew my mind,” he said. “The support has just been astronomical.”

He said volunteers are planning to wrap and distribute the gifts to the children and families in need.

Triplett was in Chicago last Friday when storms hit. His wife and two children took shelter in a hotel room in nearby Paducah.

When he arrived back in the small Kentucky town, he was struck by the widespread devastation.

“It was very heartbreaking,” he said. “It was way too much for me to handle.

“The shelter was full of kids that had nothing but the clothes on their back, and they’re sleeping on cots,” he said.

Mayfield was one of the hardest-hit cities after a line of storms and tornadoes barreled through the central part of the country last weekend. At least eight people died when a candle factory collapsed, and most of the town of about 10,000 people was damaged or destroyed.

Throughout Kentucky, 74 people died in the storm. Overall, across the five states where storms hit, a total of 88 people died.


More Than 100 Feared Dead after Tornadoes Sweep across 8 States

Photo courtesy: ©Getty Images/Scott Olson/Staff

Amanda Casanova is a writer living in Dallas, Texas. She has covered news for since 2014. She has also contributed to The Houston Chronicle, U.S. News and World Report and She blogs at The Migraine Runner.