Heroic father-of-five who stopped to help an injured driver was swept away by Kentucky floodwaters

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Gabriel Hensley, a father-of-five, died in the historic flooding across Eastern Kentucky while trying to get back home to his family. The 30-year-old coal miner had just finished his shift at coal mines in Perry County early Thursday morning. When he took an alternate route to get back home he spotted a person who was in need of help. The driver of a four-wheeler was injured after floodwaters spun him off his vehicle. Gabriel told his wife that the person was bleeding and quickly rushed to his brother-in-law’s house to get help. “He was a hero,” his wife, Macy, told CNN. “He was the one that was out helping people instead of worrying about himself.”

Hensley and his brother-in-law Chase Williams went back out to look for the injured person but couldn’t find him. They decided to get back to safety but things took a turn for the worse. “We got down the road a little bit but in a matter of minutes the water rose up enough where it picked up the truck and took us both into the creek,” Williams said.

According to Macy, her husband’s red truck was caught in floodwaters and got swept away. She also said that her brother almost lost his life trying to save her husband. The grieving widow told Lexington Herald Reader, “He and my brother were out trying to help people,” adding that “The current was too fast.” Her brother had to hold onto a tree to escape the floodwaters. He made it to the bank of the creek and was able to use his phone’s flashlight to begin signaling for help. A neighbor came to the scene and they immediately began to look for Gabriel.

Sadly, they could not find Gabriel for a long time. Despite the bleak circumstances, the family held on to the little shred of hope that he somehow made it out alive.”We looked for Gabe for a very long time that night but we could never find him,” Williams told CNN. The family’s hopes were shattered when Gabriel’s body was found on Sunday. He leaves behind 5 children including a 10-week-old son. “He was a family man,” his wife said. “No matter the storm. No matter how bad it got. He just wanted to get home to his home and family.” Lexington anesthesiologist and Gabriel’s cousin Kent Daniels told the Herald-Leader that he “was a hardworking Eastern Kentucky guy who would give you whatever he had.” He added, “Eastern KY lost a hero. If he died helping someone out, that’s the definition of a hero.”

Cover Image Source: Facebook | Maggard Funeral Homes