DAWSON SPRINGS, Ky. -- Neighbors and family members continued to pick through the pieces of rubble a massive tornado left in its wake along its 200-plus mile path on Friday night.
Billy West and his family were grieving as West's mother and aunt were among the many killed in his childhood neighborhood of Dawson Springs.
"I received a text message at about 10:17; my wife got one, my son and mine and all it said was 'I love you,' " West said. "That was the last text that I received from my mother."
West said he knew something didn't seem right so he drove the 6 miles from his house to check on his mother.
"It was about 25 minutes after (the tornado) happened and I could see the devastation, so I parked the car in the middle of the road," he said. "As I walked down Keegan Street, I had to get my bearings. I grew up here and I was like in a horror picture, I didn't know where I was at."
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He said he turned and found where his mom and aunt lived.
"I saw that there was nothing left of my mom's home," he said.
He said had to leave for his safety due to the extensive damage and potentially live and downed power lines.
His mom and aunt's bodies were eventually found together next to a tree about a block away from their home.
"They were together, that's the way they would have wanted it," West said. "If they were going to die, they were going to do it together."
Tuesday, they were picking through the damage left behind looking for photos and any other mementos to keep their memories alive.
"We know my mom's in a better place; my aunt's in a better place," West said, adding he's still numb trying to process it all.
"It's just devastation and not just for me and my family, but 75% of my hometown," he said. "I grew up here and…everything's just gone."
As for the town rebuilding, West says he expects it'll take years.
"A lot of families are in their 70s and 80s that survived, but will they start over here? Or another community?" West said. "It's just unreal."
For now, West will focus on their own recovery and taking care of his family as the oldest sibling left, leaning on their faith to get through the disaster.
"God has a plan," West said. "And sometimes we don’t understand the plan, but he has a plan."