Family of a Kentucky tornado victim live in Orleans County | WHEC.com

Family of a Kentucky tornado victim live in Orleans County

Berkeley Brean
Created: December 13, 2021 06:51 PM

MEDINA, N.Y. (WHEC) — At least 64 people were killed in Kentucky when a tornado tore through the state last week. It was one of many that ripped through several states. One of the people killed was the father and grandfather of a mother and daughter in Medina, Orleans County.

I spoke to them Friday evening as part of News10NBC's ongoing investigation into health care staffing crises for people with developmental disabilities.

Fours hours after our interview, the tornado hit Mayfield, Kentucky.

The next day, the family texted me saying their father and grandfather was killed.

Robert Baldree, 87, died from his injuries. His wife, Jean, survived because she was in a hospital and away from the storm.

Jeania Huckstep, father killed in Kentucky tornado: "[My mother] happened to be on the phone with a neighbor and all of a sudden the neighbor said 'Oh my gosh, the roof's gone!' and the line went dead."

Jeania Huckstep is from Medina. 

Robert and Jean are her parents. 

Jeania said her father was found by a neighbor.

Jeania Huckstep: "Walked out amongst all the rubble and found my dad in the driveway."

Baldree was a plumber, pipefitter and welder for nuclear power plants and test sites across the country.

I talked to Jeania and her husband, Peter, Friday evening as part of our investigation into the staffing crisis in caring for people with disabilities, like their daughter Andrea, who has autism.

That night, the tornado hit.

Jeania: "It was horrific. And then you're finding out more details - like I didn't know about the lady finding him in the driveway, she stayed with him for two hours before they got the ambulance. And then you're just seeing that in your mind. And the worst time is when you're trying to go to sleep at night when there's nothing else going on except you're praying."

Saturday night, the wind storm knocked out the power to Jeania's home. As of the posting of this story, they still don't have it. 

Huckstep is not sure she can go to Kentucky, there's no power and water at the local funeral homes and she's not sure there's any place to stay.


Copyright 2021 - WHEC-TV, LLC A Hubbard Broadcasting Company