Among the 37 people that lost their lives in the historic Kentucky floods, one was a father of five who died a hero.
Gabriel Hensley was trying to help an injured driver when he was swept away by floodwaters. The 30-year-old coal miner had just finished his shift at coal mines in Perry County early in the morning on July 28, 2022, and was on his way home when he saw the driver who was in need of help. He was injured after the floodwater threw him out of his vehicle. Gabriel told his wife that the person was bleeding and quickly rushed to his brother-in-law’s house to get help.
“All (Hensley) could say is ‘he’s bleeding, he’s bleeding,'” his wife Macy said, according to CNN.
Hensley and his brother-in-law Chase Williams went back out to look for the injured person but couldn’t find him. So, they decided to get back to safety, but unfortunately, they got caught in the floodwater. “We got down the road a little bit but in a matter of minutes the water rose up enough where it picked up the truck and took us both into the creek,” Williams said.
Gabriel Hensley, a father of five who stopped to help an injured driver and was later swept away by floodwaters himself was found dead this week.
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The water was so powerful that it swept away her husband’s red truck, revealed Macy. She then said that she almost lost her brother too, while he tried to save her husband.
“He and my brother were out trying to help people,” the grieving widow told Lexington Herald Reader, adding that “The current was too fast.” Williams managed to hold on to a tree and escaped the waters. He made it to the bank of a creek and immediately used his phone’s flashlight to signal for help. Neighbors who saw the sign for help without delay got out to look for Hensley but in vain.
“We looked for Gabe for a very long time that night but we could never find him,” Williams said.
The brave man’s body was found on July 31, 2022. He leaves behind 5 children including a 10-week-old son. “He was a family man,” his wife said. “No matter the storm. No matter how bad it got. He just wanted to get home to his home and family.”
Lexington anesthesiologist and Hensley’s cousin Kent Daniels said that he “was a hardworking Eastern Kentucky guy who would give you whatever he had.” He added, “Eastern KY lost a hero. If he died helping someone out, that’s the definition of a hero.”
His wife, too, echoed the same sentiments as her husband’s cousin. “He was a hero,” said Macy. “He was the one that was out helping people instead of worrying about himself.”