February 19, 2022
Written By Adam Buckallew
The trees were gone. Rubble was strewn everywhere. A landscape of catastrophe was all that remained of a majority of Dawson Springs, Ky. A December tornado—one of many that tore through eight states—left many residents of the small town in the western portion of the Bluegrass State homeless.
Jeff Spurlin, who manages the MFA Oil office in Central City, Ky., drove the 37 miles west to Dawson Springs in the aftermath of the storm to provide assistance. Spurlin and his co-workers, Josh Cobb and Craig Whitney, searched the wreckage where neighborhoods once stood for propane tanks that had been tossed or damaged by the tornado. Any damage to the tanks or their connections could create potentially dangerous situations, and the MFA Oil crew worked to ensure residents who survived the storm remained safe.
After the initial safety checks were completed, Spurlin’s team responded to an urgent request in the community. Two local retirement homes lost access to the natural gas pipeline and needed a temporary heating solution.
“They had been without heat since the night of the storm and needed to do something to keep their residents warm,” Spurlin says. “We loaded up a couple of 1,000-gallon propane tanks on trailers and told them we were on our way.”
When the MFA Oil crew showed up to install the propane tanks, they were greeted with jubilant celebration.
“There were people, a lot of people, out in the parking lot because of the circumstances, and they started jumping up and down, clapping and rejoicing when we arrived,” Spurlin recalls. “We were a little surprised by the greeting. We’re just glad we could help.”
Seeing the tornado’s destruction and the need of the Dawson Springs community firsthand, Spurlin wanted to do more. He and his staff set up a pop-up tent in the parking lot of the local grocery store to offer free propane bottle filling services.
“With so many people who had lost their homes or power to their homes, we knew there was a desperate need for propane for heat and cooking purposes,” Spurlin says. “Many homes in town remain disconnected from the natural gas pipeline, and it may be a while before those connections can be restored.”
MFA Oil filled bottles for two days at the pop-up location in Dawson Springs and donated more than 700 gallons of propane to residents and relief workers. Spurlin says he is thankful to work for a company that contributes to communities in good times and bad.
“The damage the tornado did to Dawson Springs is just devastating, and it’s going to take some time for the community to rebuild,” Spurlin says. “We’re happy to have played a role in the recovery process.”