Heroic father-of-five who stopped to help an injured driver was swept away by Kentucky floodwaters
The 28th of July, 2022, started out like any other day in Eastern Kentucky. But they had no idea that the events of the day would transform the lives of countless people throughout the country and leave a lasting impression on history.
It was the final time Macy Hensley would see her husband alive. Gabriel Hensley, who worked a shift in the coal mines, went to work as normal on that dreadful day but never returned home.
The flooding began in Perry County as the new dad was working his shift, causing him to quit his job and race back home to save his wife and 10-week-old kid. Macy recalled that her husband was a family guy who would go to any length to bring her and his children home.
Along the trip, he saw other catastrophe victims in need of assistance. Gabriel, unable to turn a blind eye, halted to assist, aided by his wife’s brother. The two men did everything they could to calm things down, turning folks back and removing trees to provide a safe route for trapped victims.
While they were at it, they came upon a man who was being swept away by floodwaters after his four-wheeler was destroyed. In his effort to save the victim, Gabriel’s vehicle was also washed away. The 30-year-old battled through the water with the assistance of Macy’s brother. Unfortunately, the attempts were futile, almost losing the latter his life.
As the swift current drove Gabriel and his truck into the deep seas, Macy’s brother attempted to cling to a tree at the last moment. The survivor was finally discovered and saved by a neighbor, and the two began to wade into the water in pursuit of Gabriel.
With no evidence of him, the family clung to the sliver of faith that he had somehow survived. Their expectations were shattered, though, when his corpse and his mangled truck were located on Sunday afternoon.
Gabriel Hensley’s death was devastating to his spouse and kids, particularly given that he died while attempting to reach them. Kent Daniels, Gabriel’s cousin, characterized the deceased coal miner as a hero. He pondered that Eastern Kentucky has lost a hero. That is the notion of a hero if he died assisting others.
The Lexington anesthesiologist remembers his cousin as a diligent man who would sacrifice anything for the well-being of others. Hensley, like the rest of his family, wishes that the world recognizes him in that way.
The family requested individuals to remember the fallen hero by contributing essential things such as water, rakes, cleaning materials, shovels, and buckets to inhabitants of the Eastern Kentucky village to assist in the recovery process.
Before his death, the young coal miner committed his life to his family, working hard to care for his lovely wife and five wonderful children, including a newborn baby who would never meet his father. He never missed an opportunity to brag about his large family on social media, posting photos of them celebrating important milestones.
Happy birthday to my Ava girl daddy loves you my big 3 year old Bundle of joy 🥰😍￼￼Posted by Emanuel G Hensley on Monday, 8 February 2021
These images, which are still visible on his social media profiles, would serve as a constant reminder to the family that they once had the love and company of a fine guy who would keep an eye over them long after he left this world.
Gabriel is one of seven Perry County residents who died in the record Eastern Kentucky flash floods that struck the state on Thursday. So far, the statewide death toll has increased to 37 as of Monday, August 1, with many more still missing.
This figure includes casualties from various countries and age categories. Knott County, Breathitt County, Letcher County, Perry County, and Clay County have seen a spike in the number of dead or missing persons, including kids.
People all around the world have expressed their sympathy for the flood victims, giving prayers and sympathies to the surviving as they grieve the loss of their loved ones.
Numerous rescue teams have been stationed in the different risk-prone zones to lessen the flood’s aftermath and be ready to manage a similar calamity in the future.
Here’s hoping Gabriel Hensley’s wife, his children, the rest of the family, and anyone who lost a loved one in the historic flood can survive and finally move on.