'People are desperate for someone to listen:' 'Cowboy' listens to stories of tornado victims

Cowboy Cares
Posted at 5:38 PM, Dec 22, 2021
and last updated 2021-12-22 19:42:11-05

DAWSON SPRINGS, Ky. (WTVF) — In a time of great tragedy, there are ways every one of us can step up and help. Sometimes the simplest gesture can mean the world to someone.

Under a brimmed hat, there’s an ear ready to listen.

“My wife would say, 'why are you doing that when you barely listen to me?'" smiled Dave Graham, who goes by Cowboy. “I think the events of the virus and political unrest, people have become so isolated, they’re afraid to engage or talk.”

Cowboy’s in a place where people need someone to listen.

“It’s completely different than the hurricanes I’ve been to, and I’ve been to the worst," he said, sitting in front of debris from a tornado. "This is completely different. I’ve never seen anything like it. I’ve never seen anything like it.”

In Dawson Springs, Kentucky, bedroom mirrors and basketball cards are in the miles of debris. It’s Christmas time during the worst weeks of many lives. Cowboy came here from Bellville, Ohio, to help however he could, and as part of that, he’s come up with a plan. It involves being that listening ear. He stood next to a gas station with a sign reading, 'Need To Talk? Stop and Talk. Cowboy Cares.'

“How you doing?” he asked a woman who'd pulled up to talk. “I’m good, actually.” “You got hit pretty hard?” “We did.”

“People are desperate for someone to listen," Cowboy said between speaking to locals, volunteers, Army members and more. “We can’t keep stuff bottled up, so that's why I do it.”

In being here, Cowboy’s heard painful stories.

“The woman who just left here pulled her mother and father out of the debris and passed her neighbors getting to them that were screaming for help," Cowboy said. “She can’t sleep, and she feels guilty, and she needed to tell that. She needed to do that in a way the person wouldn’t talk. They’d just listen.”

Hearing what happened to so many can be overwhelming, but people are glad a cowboy who cares came to Dawson Springs.

“I think it's pretty cool," a man with the Army told Cowboy. "What you're doing is important too."

“I appreciate what you’re doing," a passing chaplain told Cowboy.

“I said, 'he just brought joy to my heart, a smile to my face.'" a woman told Cowboy. "It was just comforting to know so many care about our little town. I just wanted to stop and let you know that.”

“We were built to communicate," said Cowboy. "It’s in us. What’s needed is for humans to become humans again. For this small little footprint right here, it’s back again.”