GRAVES COUNTY, Ky. (WKRN) — An inmate in Western Kentucky was honored for his heroic actions during the deadly December tornadoes that killed 76 Kentuckians

The Graves County Sheriff’s Office presented an award to inmate Marco Sanchez who was on work detail at a candle factory on Dec. 10, 2021, in Mayfield when a tornado ripped through the building, killing eight inside. 

According to the Graves County Sheriff’s Office, witnesses at the candle factory reported an inmate at the candle factory site worked tirelessly that night to pull victims from the rubble and offer aid to those that were injured despite suffering from a broken leg and cracked ribs. 

A volunteer firefighter transported Sanchez to the emergency room with several other injured people. After his release, Sanchez spotted a trooper at the hospital, told the trooper he was an inmate and attempted to turn himself in. However, amid the chaos that night, the trooper was not in a position to take Sanchez into custody, according to the Graves County Sheriff’s Office. 

The Graves County Sheriff’s Office said Sanchez then learned that the jail had been destroyed and took a shuttle bus to a shelter. After arriving at the shelter, Sanchez was able to contact jail staff and was later taken back into custody, according to the Graves County Sheriff’s Office. 

Several community leaders held a ceremony for Sanchez acknowledging his heroic and honest actions that night. Sanchez will be released from the Graves County Restricted Custody Center on March 1.