Was it a simple act of kindness that motivated a Good Samaritan, or “divine intervention”? In the wee hours on December 10th, Kentucky native Jim Finch became inspired to load up his truck with food, water and a BBQ grill, and head to Mayfield, where the devastating series of deadly tornados tore into the heartland.
Like many across the nation, Finch watched in disbelief as mother-nature ravaged rural communities and small towns along a 200 mile path of destruction, spewing over 69 tornadoes across multiple state lines, including Arkansas, Georgia, Tennessee, Missouri, Illinois, Indiana, and Ohio.
Kentucky, however, experienced what has been described as “catastrophic damage” with over 76 confirmed dead and hundreds more injured. Dozens of towns were destroyed, with some totally wiped off the map.
The powerful twisters collapsed an occupied candle factory in Kentucky, an Amazon warehouse in western Illinois, and a nursing home in Arkansas, killing people in each community and setting off scrambling rescue missions. https://t.co/7vqGqOiYNi— IG: PlatinumVoicePR (@PLATINUMVOICEPR) December 21, 2021
The stark images of people standing within the rubble and debris that once was their homes, was all that was needed to motivate thousands of non-profits and individuals across the country to descend on those devastated states.
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“I just figured I’d do what I can do,” said Finch, as he loaded up his pickup truck and drove to Mayfield to help feed those displaced victims. “I know they don’t have electricity, so that means they don’t have no electric, no restaurants, no running water, so I just figured I’d do what I can do. Show up with some food and some water.”
For the record, Fitch isn’t a restaurant owner or a chef. He’s a simple, straight-forward individual with a BBQ grill, who decided to help out by cooking simple foods like hamburgers, chicken, sausages, and eggs. Foods that were easy for anyone to grab and eat without a fuss.
Fitch wasn’t alone in his endeavors. Operation BBQ Relief, a network of volunteers and first responders across the country who mobilize within 24-48 hours of a natural disaster, arrived on sight ready to fire-up their BBQ grills and commercial smokers. The nonprofit group has been feeding thousands of survivors of natural disasters, the most recent one in Houston, Texas, during the unprecedented freeze last winter. They also traveled to Louisiana and Missouri for Hurricane Ida.
Local reporter Victor Ordoñez was on scene with his crew touring the devastation, when they came across Finch standing by a rubble-strewn road, firing-up his gas grilled BBQ and ready to feed anyone who passed by. Ordoñez noted in his news report that Finch didn’t belong to any organization, and that he had paid for the food and water out of his own pocket and just wanted to help out the best he could.
Later in the day, Ordoñez took to social media with a series of video clips and posts, describing what was taking place within the area.
“This was the scene right before Jim Finch, the man in the video, set up his grill. There was later Church service in that parking lot across from him.”
— Victor Ordoñez (@TheOrdonezTimes) December 12, 2021
The first video posted had the caption: “This man drove half an hour with a grill and a truckload of food and parked right in the middle of Mayfield Kentucky.”
In another series of video clips and posts, Ordoñez asked Finch whether there was any specific reason he was helping.
“Jim wore a smile the whole morning, we laugh when I asked if he had a restaurant. He shook his head, “it just needed to be done.”
— Victor Ordoñez (@TheOrdonezTimes) December 13, 2021
This man drove half an hour with a grill and a truckload of food and parked right in the middle of #Mayfield, Kentucky. pic.twitter.com/xrVbrMdJ9S— Victor Ordoñez (@TheOrdonezTimes) December 12, 2021
Finch added, “We trying to feed the people. We got hamburgers, chicken, I got sausage, egg. Just real simple stuff you can have and not worry about making a mess, grab and go type of food.”
Some might also wonder. Was it a simple act of kindness that motivated Jim Finch, or “divine intervention” that inspired him to aid those in need?