From left, Judson Brown, Jordan Smith, Tyler Dalton, Craig Verhage and Jay Burchfield were busy preparing meals in Winston County in wake of the April tornado.
From left, Judson Brown, Jordan Smith, Tyler Dalton, Craig Verhage and Jay Burchfield were busy preparing meals in Winston County in wake of the April tornado.
When a deadly tornado struck Winston County last April, Louisville native Tyler Dalton was in the midst of baseball season on the other side of the state at Delta State University.

Three months later, Dalton came to visit friends at the Neshoba County Fair, just the same as he has since 2006. Even three months removed, he couldn't help but remember the week following the tornado.

Dalton's home was fortunately spared from damage, but he felt compelled to return to his hometown and help in any way he could.

However, he didn't make the trip home from Cleveland alone.

A group of baseball supporters named the Left Field Lounge accompanied Dalton to Louisville to help families by cooking around 2,000 plates of food over three days after the tornado hit.

"The idea came about when the guys from the Left Field Lounge heard of the damage that was done to Louisville," Dalton said. "Some of the people who had damage to their home were people who went to school at Delta State, and if you know anything about the Delta State family, then you know how tight-knit it is."

Jay Burchfield, a member of the Left Field Lounge, was one of the nine people who went to Louisville from Cleveland the weekend after the tornado.

Burchfield said they were set up in the Winston Academy parking lot Friday night through Sunday. He found a new appreciation for life after the experience.

"It was humbling," Burchfield said. "Winston Academy is right up the hill where it came through and you could see the destruction was just massive."

The entire Cleveland community chipped in for the tornado victims. Burchfield said mostly everything they brought was donated from Cleveland locals, and one local farmer actually slaughtered a hog for them to cook.

Another 10 people were helping the group box up meals as they continuously cooked as much as they could.

"We were making plates and boxing them up to whoever needed them," Burchfield said.

As for Dalton, spending the week in Louisville meant taking time away from school and baseball but his professors and coaches were more than accommodating.

During his time in Cleveland, Dalton has found a special bond with the people there, and the Left Field Lounge coming to Louisville is a perfect example.

"It was great to see those guys make the trip to help out," he said.

"I wouldn't have expected anything else from them. They are a special group of people to the Delta State family.

"The guys who came and helped out referred to it as 'people helping people' and that's what its all about."