Truth, Inspiration, Hope.

Kind Woman Donates Her Car To A Complete Stranger, A Kentucky Tornado Survivor Who Lost Everything

Published: March 10, 2022
Tornado survivor Rebecca Marsala receives car from Sharon Sutherland (R)
Tornado survivor Rebecca Marsala receives car from Sharon Sutherland (R) (Image: Graves County Sheriff's Office)

There are angels among us. If one ever needs proof, look no further than Sharon Sutherland, a teacher from Anderson County.

It’s common to see someone helping out a stranger on the street, or donating some money and goods to victims after a tragedy. These small acts of kindness can make a big difference to those in need.

Sharon Sutherland, however, went above and beyond for a complete stranger – a survivor of the devastating tornado that ripped through a candle factory in Mayfield, West Kentucky in December 2021 – by gifting the survivor her own car.

(Image: Graves County Sheriff’s Office)

Sutherland said God put it on her heart to give her Dodge Stratus to a tornado victim in need of a car in Mayfield.

“I guess it started with just the story of what happened,” she told WKYT. “All the pictures I saw were just devastating.”

“I can’t explain it, at 3 o’clock in the morning, I wake up and my first thought is, ‘I need to take that car to Mayfield.”

Mayfield was one of the badly hit areas of the deadly tornado that ripped through Kentucky on Dec. 10. This disaster destroyed hundreds of homes, leaving more than 100 people dead and many others injured. Among the victims was Rebecca Marsala, who had lost everything, including her car that was destroyed in the parking area of the factory she worked for. 

Like any other day, Marsala went to work at the candle factory. She had no inkling that her routine day would soon turn into a nightmare of an experience. Out of nowhere, the Quad State Tornado ripped through Kentucky – demolishing the candle factory, leaving it flattened. 

(Image: Graves County Sheriff’s Office)

Nine employees of the factory died, while others suffered injuries as the tornado mercilessly destroyed everything on its path, Fox 17 News reported. Marsala and a few others were trapped in the rubble for five long hours, unable to move. 

While waiting for help to arrive, Marsala recalled she and the other victims tried to remain calm in that pitch dark mess. However, it proved to be difficult, especially when the realization hit that the sort of horrible scene you usually see in movies was actually taking place. In dire distress, Marsala even called her daughter to say goodbye.

Finally, she was rescued and brought to the hospital for treatment for her injuries. She spent days there recovering. 

After learning of all this, Sutherland was moved and was soon inspired to donate her car to Marsala. Sutherland got in touch with Anderson County Sheriff Joe Milam and discussed her plans. The sheriff then called Graves County Sheriff Jon Hayden, who later helped bring the two women together.

On December 26, Sutherland drove four hours to Mayfield and was introduced to Marsala who was both shocked and moved by Sutherland’s generous gesture. 

(Image: Graves County Sheriff’s Office)

“Mrs. Sutherland signed over the title and handed the keys to Rebecca. What a blessing,” Graves County Sheriff’s Office stated. “She also delivered some homemade cookies for our deputies.”

Both Marsala and Sutherland were so emotional during the handoff that it was hard to hold back tears. Both women agreed that the car would be a real blessing for Marsala, especially since she had been heavily relying on her parents to get around.

“I just want to tell her to know how grateful and honored I am,” Marsala said. “To just know that she feels the need to not only help someone but that they chose me out of all the people right now that are in need, I just feel so blessed,” she added.

Marsala hopes to be independent again and get her life back on track. She feels blessed to have gotten this car, as she believes it will help her immensely with her daily life.

It’s not often we come across such an incredible story of kindness. While mostly found in the movies or in fiction, once in a while we stumble upon such generosity in real life. Sutherland’s kindness has made many hearts sing and helped Marsala in getting her life back.