The Dawsons Springs Progress | DS schools working with Muslim Americans for compassion after tornado

When the tornado hit Dawson Springs in December, dozens of organizations and groups from across the country came out to help the town. Months later, Muslim Americans for Compassion continues to help.

Dawson Springs High School Counselor Brannigan Ethridge said she met Dr. Muhammad Babar and the other members of MAC not long after the tornado.

“When we set up the school for a community supply hub, they had two or three cars the first day I met them,” she said.

Babar is the president of MAC, being one of the founders, and he is a physician out of Louisville. Babar said he has a colleague who is from Hopkins County and who volunteered at the high school after the tornado.

“I think the tornado happened on Saturday, and on Sunday, we were able to bring a big cargo van of supplies,” he said.

After the initial visit, MAC made several other trips to Dawson to distribute other supplies like coats, masks, lice shampoo, and more.

“Later on, with the help of our national Islamic Relief and help from the school, we identified 20-25 employees, including teachers, whose houses and property were damaged by the tornado, and we gave them $500 gift cards each,” said Babar.

Ethridge said the donations to the staff really touched her heart because those people are in the process of building back their homes.

“Most of them lost everything or had substantial damage and had to come back to work,” she said.

More recently, MAC gave 10 students small scholarships to help them with college this coming year.

“We had a very strong group of seniors this year, and several of them are going to college,” said Ethridge. “Every dollar for that counts.”

The 10 students who received the scholarships were Leonard Addison Whalen, who will attend Eastern Kentucky University for PGA Golf Management; Brylee Spurlin, who will attend Madisonville Community College to be an elementary teacher; Skye Bratcher, who will attend MCC for business; Madelyn Huddleston, who will attend MCC for physical therapy; Jordan Thomas, who will attend Murray State University for business, Trinity Randolph, who will attend MSU for nurse anesthetist; Ashley Jennings, who will attend MSU for liberal arts; Kameryn Sizemore, who will attend MSU to become a medical doctor; James Everett Nieters, who will attend the University of Louisville for electrical engineering; and Alaina Stone, who will attend Western Kentucky University for anthropology.

Babar said he hopes to not only maintain the scholarship for the coming years, but keep expanding it and the relationship with Dawson Springs Schools.

“It is not only here in our country, but I have observed it across the country. We will come together when a tragedy happens, then as soon as the dust settles, we get busy in our own lives,” he said. “While the communities affected by the disasters are left behind to figure it out by themselves. We should be there for the communities in the long haul.”

He said we need to love and support each other unconditionally.

“I am realizing that we are all children of a good God, of one creator, and our creator loves diversity, otherwise we would have been born into one race, or religion, or gender. I think our test is how we relate with each other, how we can care for each other and all the living beings,” said Babar.

Ethridge said it is a relief to know that MAC will be around for a long time partner of the schools.

“It is the heart of wanting to partner with us any way they can,” she said. “I think that is what really helped and is so significant for our community. We are just thankful for their partnership and their willingness to help us.”

Read the article on The-Messenger.com/Dawson_Springs_Progress.

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