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Insurance Company Processing Claims Despite Damage To Office; Survivors Of Deadly Tornadoes Describe Harrowing Moments; Underdog Navy Tops Army In 122nd Edition Of America's Game. Aired 6-7a ET

Aired December 12, 2021 - 06:00   ET



AMARA WALKER, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning, everyone. And welcome to this special edition of NEW DAY WEEKEND. It is Sunday, December 12th. I'm Amara Walker in for Christi Paul.

BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN ANCHOR: And I'm Boris Sanchez, live in Edwardsville, Illinois. This community reeling after being hit by an EF-3 tornado that left six people dead. Unfortunately, scenes like this playing out behind me are also playing out in several states with rescue and recovery and cleanup efforts under way after this weekend's powerful storms.

WALKER: The heads of Homeland Security and FEMA are traveling to the region today bringing much needed resources to the devastated communities. Storms unleashed more than 30 tornadoes late Friday and into early Saturday, destroying buildings and claiming lives across six states. And one twister may be responsible for damage along a 250- mile stretch from Arkansas to Kentucky. Officials now fear as many as 80 people may have lost their lives.

SANCHEZ: And here in Edwardsville, authorities say a recovery effort could take three days, as we look at what's left of this Amazon warehouse. At least six people killed here after a tornado carved through the building. Eleven-inch concrete walls, imploding, the roof collapsing. Roughly 45 people made it out, but getting an exact number of how many were in the warehouse at the time has proved difficult for officials.

And they made the distinction yesterday, search and rescue operations shifting into search and recovery. Officials not expecting to find anyone else alive under the rubble.

But it is Mayfield, Kentucky, that may have been the hardest hit area. Officials calling it the ground zero of this set of tornadoes. It's estimated that more than 100 people were working in a candle factory when a tornado hit there.

Kentucky's Governor Andy Beshear saying that just 40 have been rescued. Officials and loved ones are searching for the missing and they are stunned by what they are seeing.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) DARRYL JOHNSON, SEARCHING FOR MISSING SISTER: This is probably the worst thing I ever seen in my life in person and I've been several places and I've seen, you know, just -- this is just terrible.

VOICE OF TODD HAYDEN, GRAVES COUNTY, KENTUCKY COMMISSIONER: Somebody said that's the candle factory right there. And I was like, "You got to be kidding me." I mean, it was nothing but a pile of metal. And it was just shock.


WALKER: These storms have completely, as you can see, altered the landscape of Mayfield. In fact, there are just a few buildings left standing in the town of about 10,000 people. The National Guard and other Kentucky commonwealth personnel are conducting house-to-house searches and debris removal. Kentucky's governor and President Biden each reassured Kentuckians that everything is being done to help.


JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The federal government is not going to walk away. This is one of those times when we aren't Democrats or Republicans. It sounds like hyperbole, but it's real. We're all Americans. We stand together as the United States of America.

GOV. ANDY BESHEAR (D-KY): I just want everybody to know that you are not alone. Today Kentucky is absolutely united. We're united with our people. We are united to find and rescue as many as possible.


SANCHEZ: Let's get straight to CNN's Nadia Romero. She joins us now live from Mayfield. Nadia, you were there starting very early yesterday seeing rescue workers go into the rubble and speaking to residents who had gone there looking for loved ones. Have you heard from them since? How are they holding up this morning?

NADIA ROMERO, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, good morning, Boris. You know, a lot of people have been asking us on social media about Ivy Williams, the man we interviewed yesterday, who was looking for his wife Janine Williams, a woman he had been with for some 30 years. He called her the love of his life. They have kids and grandkids together.

I spoke with him late last night, still no word on where his wife might be. He says he's optimistic. He's hopeful that she was pulled from the rubble, that's what he was told by one of her coworkers, and that she may be unconscious at an area hospital. That's what he's hoping for today but no confirmation on his wife, Janine Williams.

And that's over at the candle factory, but the entire town of Mayfield looks like this. I mean, you can see the rubble behind me. It really does look like a bomb went off all throughout this town, not just in that one area.


As you go through the town, we're in the corner of 8th and Broadway, right next to the courthouse here, but you can hardly tell that's where we are because every corner looks the same. You just have these downed poles everywhere and trees and debris.

This is the power line here. There's no power anywhere in this city. And that is a big problem because it is so cold. That means people don't have heat.

And if you are still in your house and you're buried under all of this, how can someone find you? How can they hear your cries and get you out? That's what makes this storm so dangerous, so deadly, specially this time of year. So we spoke with a woman who was in her home in Mayfield when a tornado happened, and this is her story of survival.


BARBARA PATTERSON, MAYFIELD RESIDENT: This was my home until last night. Me and him will be able to get somewhere and be together. Find us a place and be together, and then get our family back. We're very oriented family and that's what's carrying us through right now is our family and the Lord.


ROMERO: Yes. And that's what's carrying everyone through. People are saying that they were praying the entire time during the storm hoping they would make it out alive. And we've seen those resources showing up here all throughout the commonwealth. Different cities and counties bringing their emergency crews here, bringing anyone who can help. The community stepping up, people who were not impacted by the storm coming here, bringing water and food and supplies to those emergency crews who are going door to door, corner to corner, trying to listen and hear from anyone who may be crying out, who may have survived that storm but isn't able to get out because of all this debris that's blocking their way out, their way to get back to safety.

We also spoke with some rescue crews that have come all the way from Illinois, people have come from other states to come just to help out because it will be all hands on deck in this town of Mayfield for quite some time. Boris.

WALKER: Yes, definitely a herculean effort. Appreciate that report. Nadia Romero, thank you.

We want to show you now some before and after images that reveal the true scale of destruction from Friday night's deadly tornadoes. Just take a look on the left there. You can see drone footage of the county courthouse in Mayfield, Kentucky, where Nadia is before the storm. On the right, the same area completely destroyed.

In Monette, Arkansas, you can see what used to be a nursing home. It's no longer recognizable. The entire area -- the building has just been wiped out. And then further north in Edwardsville, Illinois, where Boris Sanchez is, an Amazon warehouse was partially hit by the tornado. Yes, at least two people were killed when the building completely collapsed. We're talking about 11-inch concrete walls described by emergency responders.

And a candle factory in Mayfield, Kentucky. This is just astounding, completely in ruins. Emergency crews rescued a number of employees trapped under the debris there, which seems to be a miracle that people survived that collapse as well. But we are told dozens were killed when that building came down, and those recovery efforts are ongoing.

SANCHEZ: And, Amara, that candle factory is the focal point of loss in the town of Mayfield, Kentucky, in Graves County. Right now we're joined on the phone by Graves County Judge Executive Jesse Perry.

Jesse, thank you so much for sharing part of your morning with us. First, I just want to find out how you're doing? Are you OK? How did you make it through the storm? How is your family doing?

JESSE PERRY, GRAVES COUNTY, KENTUCKY, JUDGE EXECUTIVE (on the phone): So we're -- we live a little south of Mayfield, and we watched this storm for many -- I guess a few hours just on radar as it was coming, heading our way. My family is safe. I mean, we are blessed. You know, everything is fine with us.

But that being said, after the storm, watching the weather and the radar after it moved on through our city, and then that's when I went ahead and went into actually downtown Mayfield, that's where I went to because that's where they had concentrated with a lot of the -- talking about the debris. And then, of course, when I got there, it's what is at hand now, so --

SANCHEZ: And, Jesse, have you had any communication with the rescue workers, with officials near that candle factory? Have you gotten any update, any estimates on what they think regarding the number of people that may still be trapped inside, if there are survivors?


PERRY: So right now, as far as numbers, I do not have any numbers. We do not. They're going through the rescue efforts. There are so many volunteers, by the way, and so many rescue crews that are in here. They are relieving our folks that have been working many hours, no sleep, no food, and so -- and just going through and trying to -- trying to resolve the situation. But it's still in the recovery mode right now, so I do not have any numbers for you.

SANCHEZ: Sure. And, Jesse, you mentioned that you had been tracking the storm on radar. Folks were aware that this might be a dangerous night before these storms passed through. Is that typical in your area in Graves County? Are you consistently dealing with storms? Do you know if perhaps there were plans in place at that factory or in other parts of town to prepare for the potential for danger and what we saw unfold?

PERRY: So the first, to talk about it being normal, you know, this is December and, you know, 70 degrees in December in Kentucky wouldn't be normal. So for us -- and, you know, in a lot of states and communities. I mean, we just had this warm front come through and however you want to say that but -- I mean, anyway, so that wouldn't be normal for us. But that alone was kind of the alarming situation that we knew in the end there was going to be storms.

So as far as emergency management, our folks had put out, you know, lots of information and trying to prepare, but, you know, as I've been watching a lot of this, listening to different folks, you can prepare and prepare and prepare, and then when something of this magnitude hits your community and -- you know, and it takes the whole building away and you prepared to try to stay in a safe place in that building and designated -- and I'm not -- I'm not speaking to one building in particular, but I mean many -- any one in these homes, you know, all the years they've lived there and, you know, how we would get in the basement or we would get in the bathtub or a closet, you know, and then, you know, this comes through and the house is gone.

So I say that, you know, we've -- it's very devastating in our whole community and it's very wide. And I know there are other communities. I try to listen to some news to see how other communities are doing, but right now, it doesn't feel like I can look past what's at hand for us, you know.

SANCHEZ: It will be a difficult process of building back and we want to help in whatever way we can, so please keep us posted and keep the lines of communication open. If there's some message that we can get out there to help the folks in Mayfield, in Graves County. Jesse Perry, thank you so much for the time this morning. We appreciate it.

PERRY: Thank you. OK.

WALKER: President Biden has spoken with the governors of the states affected by this weekend's tornadoes and according to the White House he has directed federal resources to the locations where there is the greatest need.

An emergency declaration has been approved for the Commonwealth of Kentucky. The president says he does plan to travel to the region to survey the storm damage when the circumstances allow.

Let's go now to CNN White House reporter Kevin Liptak live in Wilmington, Delaware this morning. Good morning to you, Kevin. So talk us through the White House's plans to help these communities hit by the storms.

KEVIN LIPTAK, CNN WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: Yes, good morning, Amara. This is really a test of competence for any president and for President Biden as well. And right now his focus is really on ensuring every federal dollar, every federal resources that these states might need gets there quickly, isn't held up by any kind of bureaucratic red tape.

And as you said the president spoke to the governors of five of these states that were affected, including the governor of Kentucky at least three times yesterday. The president told them that the federal government is standing by to provide them any resources they need.


And the other thing he said is that he has asked his officials to actually proactively tell these states what they're entitled to, what resources are available to them as they confront this rescue mission, clean up mission going forward. Now, today the federal government's delegations are starting to arrive on the ground there. The director of FEMA is traveling with the secretary of Homeland Security to Kentucky to start surveying the damage.

Federal teams have already hit the ground. Resources are also hitting the ground, things like water. One of the things that the president said he was particularly focused on was ensuring that there's enough housing for people who have lost their homes.

The president did say yesterday that he wanted to keep politics out of this. Listen to a little of what he had to say.


BIDEN: This is one of those times when we aren't Democrats or Republicans. It sounds like hyperbole, but it's real. We're all Americans. We stand together as the United States of America.

I promise you, whatever is needed, whatever is needed, the federal government is going to find a way to supply it.


LIPTAK: So the president really in the crisis manager mode at the moment, but he did talk about moving at some point into a more investigative set of circumstances. Things like looking at whether there was enough warning for these people. Looking at whether climate change may have affected this. And then, of course, he will also move into the consoler in chief mode. Yesterday, he said, my heart aches for the people who are affected by these storms.

WALKER: Yes. A lot of people's hearts aching right now, watching these images and hearing these stories. Kevin Liptak, appreciate you. Thank you so much for that.

Well, we know that many of you want to do something to help the victims of this tragedy. The CNN "IMPACT YOUR WORLD" site has verified ways to do just that and will be updated as more information on resources become available. But you can go there right now. Visit to learn more about how you can help the victims of these storms.

Well, Kentucky wasn't the only state to feel the impact of the deadly tornadoes. We will take you to some of the other places as search and recovery and rescue efforts continue this morning. And next, more stories from Kentucky as residents deal with the aftermath and immense loss in their own community.


SANCHEZ: Authorities say the death toll from devastating tornadoes that churned across the central and southern U.S. could exceed 80. Right now, rescuers are digging through piles of debris searching for survivors.

WALKER: Now the governor of Kentucky says more than 70 people may have died in that state alone. One of the most devastated sites was a candle factory in Mayfield where more than 100 people were working. Forty have been rescued.

And in Illinois six people died in the collapse of an Amazon warehouse. Emergency officials in Tennessee are now reporting four deaths there. Aerial footage shows a house with the roof just ripped off and trees uprooted. The massive storm system spawned as many as 30 tornadoes across six states.

SANCHEZ: Ground zero, as many officials have described it, remains in Tennessee, the town of Mayfield and nearby areas. We want to bring in now CNN political commentator Scott Jennings. His father, Jeff Jennings, also with us -- Jeff on the phone.

Jeff actually lost his home in the nearby town of Dawson Springs, a tornado that hit that area. And, Jeff, it's a pleasure to meet you. It's unfortunate that it's under these circumstances.

I would like to start with you. If you could just walk us through what you experienced from when you first learned that a tornado had touched down and that you had to seek cover?

JEFF JENNINGS, LOST HIS HOME IN KENTUCKY TORNADO (on the phone): Yes. Thank you for having me on. And I appreciate your words of condolences as far as our losses here.

I am a weather watcher. I watch weather every day. I like to know what's going on around me. And I had followed the newscast on this storm for about two hours or so.

And I was actually on the phone with a friend of mine across town. And when I realized the magnitude of this storm and that it was bearing down on Princeton, Kentucky, and then us, I actually went across town and got in the basement with them. So I wasn't in my home when the storm hit.

SANCHEZ: And when you saw what remained of your house what ran through your mind? What was it like?

JEFF JENNINGS: Actually, of course, it was the next morning before I could get out there after the tornado came through. I did get in my vehicle and try to go across town. And I could tell just, you know, just by what little I could see that night that it was going to be bad.

But, you know, you see these things on TV where these big super cell storms come through, but until you see it in person you can't realize the magnitude of the destruction. It's just -- it's heartbreaking.

SANCHEZ: And, Scott, you -- having spoken with you yesterday morning, you were concerned because you were trying to reach out to family and you were able to get in contact with some folks, but others were hard to get a hold of. Looking at that video of Dawson Springs, your hometown, where you grew up, how does that make you feel?


SCOTT JENNINGS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, it -- it's very emotional because I've now seen a lot of pictures and I've seen a lot of drone footage of the town and -- I mean, it's essentially unrecognizable from what I remember. You know, for so many years growing up there and graduating from high school there. As heartbreaking as it is to see it, it's equally as gratifying to hear my dad's voice this morning and to know that he's OK.

When I first heard the reports of Dawson Springs being one of the hardest hit towns, of course my mind was racing about him and other family and friends I have down there. So, you know, we thank God for dad's safety, although at the same time, he and I have chatted and we certainly know there are some people in Dawson Springs who didn't make it. And I think they're still searching for people. And I think we're going to find out about that over the next couple of days.

And so knowing that there are other people that we've known our entire lives who lost more than their homes is a heartbreaking thing to know. Just looking at the footage -- and dad is on the ground there and I'm not but just looking at the footage it's hard to imagine how long it will take to rebuild because of the widespread devastation in this town.

There are so many homes -- I was saying -- I was talking to dad yesterday and talking to some other folks and it sounds like, dad, our house we grew up is gone. It sounds like your mom and dad's house that they grew up in, and you grew up in is gone. And so it changes the character of a town to lose so much -- so much that lasted for so many decades.

SANCHEZ: Yes. It's sad to hear that folks that you are familiar with may have perished in the storm, Scott. And obviously rebuilding is going to be a huge challenge. I'm wondering how you think people watching right now might be able to help places like Dawson Springs?

SCOTT JENNINGS: Well, I think that -- I think it's important to pay attention to what the leadership says, our governor, who has family ties to Dawson Springs. Andy Beshear has said, there's two things you can do right now. One is there's a relief fund, the unified relief fund that he setting up through the state called

And the other thing he advised was to give blood. And I was tweeting with some people last night about this, and the Red Cross actually chimed in and said, no matter where you are, you can give blood. There's a critical shortage. And so wherever you happen to be watching this broadcast, even if you're not in the area, you can go and give blood today and that will help the rescue efforts here.

So and go give blood. And it sounds like those are the two most immediate and best things you can do to help these folks. And, of course, the last thing you can do is pray for relief and pray for the people who have lost folks and pray for people who have lost their homes. And pray for a quick recovery and for relief from this suffering.

SANCHEZ: We've heard over and over from local officials about how resilient Kentuckians are and this is certainly a moment where that kind of effort is needed, that kind of resilience and that kind of community that you've described as being so tight-knit will come together and rebuild stronger than before. Jeff Jennings, a pleasure to meet you, sir. Scott, always great to have you on. Thank you, both, for the time this morning.

SCOTT JENNINGS: Thanks, Boris. Thanks, dad.

SANCHEZ: Of course. And stay with CNN. We'll be right back.


AMARA WALKER, CNN ANCHOR: So, an insurance company's office was struck by the tornado in Kentucky but that hasn't stopped them from helping customers with their claims.

Roy Riley is President of Peel and Holland Insurance. He is joining us now from Murray, Kentucky which is about 30 miles east of Mayfield, which has been called ground zero of the storm there in Kentucky.

Good to see you. And I'm sorry we have to talk under these circumstances, Roy. First off, how did you fare in the storm along with your office in Mayfield?

ROY RILEY, PRESIDENT, PEEL & HOLLAND INSURANCE: Personally, fared very well. The tornado did go east of my location in Murray but it did go right across our office in Mayfield as well as across Benton and through the entire area.

So, soon as my immediate family was safe, I knew my immediate concerns turned to how was my team of 80 employees doing.

WALKER: And how are they doing?

RILEY: Blessedly, everybody's safe, our entire team is safe. Obviously extended families have significant issues, but our entire family of Peel and Holland is safe.

WALKER: And your office is in Mayfield?

RILEY: Office is in downtown Mayfield.

WALKER: Is it still standing?

RILEY: Downtown -- what? It's barely standing and I would say it's not going to be usable. So, unfortunately, we did lose our Mayfield office, but that's a minority comparison to what many of our clients are now suffering.

WALKER: Look, it's been, you know, just a day since this deadly storm came through. Are you already hearing from people regarding insurance claims and what kind of damage that their homes and businesses have sustained?

RILEY: Yes, ma'am. We've had a team on the ground in Mayfield, in Marshall County, which was impacted as well, as well as up in Princeton.

And we've probably reported over 70 claims for businesses and families in the area, so -- that was just yesterday as people are digging out and understanding just the true impact.

We'll be open again this morning and all day today to accept more claims.

WALKER: Give us a sense of these claims. I mean, are you just getting total loss after total loss?


RILEY: Unfortunately, yes. You know and it's different depending on where the tornado hit.

Ground zero, in Mayfield, was the heart of downtown which is the business district and we had many business clients, many churches, the government there for the city of Mayfield, as well as the county, various county are all our clients and they were all severely impacted.

You move out beyond downtown Mayfield, and then you run into the residential communities and we have, unfortunately, many homes that are going to be total losses. Few homes just aren't there anymore.

WALKER: I'm sure this is not what you imagined to be dealing with right before the holidays.

Oh, let me ask you about temporary housing. I know that FEMA has been dispatched and they are being dispatched to help with shelters.

Do you know where many of your clients are going or staying in it for the time being?

RILEY: That's very challenging right now. We've worked with a lot of our clients trying to get them into local hotels.

Part of our challenge right now is there's a significant part of our region that still has no power and cell service is very spotty so there are, I don't know the counts, but many counties without power.

So obviously, if you're looking for temporary accommodations, you got to get outside of our areas.

So we spent a significant amount of time helping connect clients with temporary places at least one or two nights until we can get something more permanent.

WALKER: I know. We just saw a close-up image aerial of the Graves County Courthouse. And my thoughts are well, today's Sunday, Tomorrow is Monday, which means that for most of us, right, it's just a regular workday.

But for the people in May field, in Graves County and the states that were hard hit, they're not going to be able to go back to work.

RILEY: Unfortunately --

WALKER: Or school.

RILEY: -- It's -- yes, or school, work, home for many people so lives have been severely impacted for many, many months to come.

But as a business community, one of our responsibilities is once we know our team is safe, is to do what we can to resume operations and start meeting the needs of our customers again.

WALKER: Well, you know, I'm grateful to hear that you and your team and your family are all doing OK and that you have the ability to go back to work and help the people in your community.

We appreciate your time and we wish you all the best. Roy Riley, thank you. RILEY: Thank you and prayers for Kentucky.

WALKER: Absolutely. Well, we've seen the images and it's hard to imagine how people lived through it.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Just pushed me back. Door fell on the top of me, you know I'd be -- ran inside. Everything was fall apart.


WALKER: Stories from those who survived the storm. That's next.



WALKER: After Friday night's string of deadly tornadoes across the central U.S., many survivors are struggling to rebuild this morning as you'd imagine some lost loved ones, others everything they owned.

BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN ANCHOR: Those affected by the storm have shared with us what it's like to be right in the middle of a nightmare, one of the worst tornado outbreaks on record. Here's some of what they said.


IVY WILLIAMS, MISSING WIFE WORKS AT THE CANDLE FACTORY: I'm looking for my wife in (INAUDIBLE). So if anyone knows you know, please contact me. I want to find my wife. (INAUDIBLE) hope she's still somewhere safe. I hope she's somewhere safe.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I never dreamed this. I just stopped my machine going to and I lost it when they brought me this morning.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE1: Just pushed me back. Door fell on the top of me. And I'll be -- run inside, everything was fall apart.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE2: Terrifying what happened last time. I'm just blessed to be alive right now. I hate to see that happen in my hometown where I grew up.

ROBERT MILLER, STORM SURVIVOR: I remember seeing just -- all the power. I'll just the last time I remember the power just went out, the sky turned blue.

And then I've seen -- I see the -- see the funnel cloud over that way. I ran inside. I told my other buddies in bed and he's out here trying to finish a cigarette.

He barely made it back inside man that was it. It hit so-- it hit so fast. Everything started caving in. But it's not seen. But it was bright, man.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE3: A girl that had a newborn blew the roof off her house and she just so happened to wake up right before it happened and was able to get the baby out of there before it actually hit.

KYANNA PARSONS-PEREZ, CANDLE FACTORY WORKER (voiceover): It was the most terrifying thing that I have ever experienced in my life.

As far as I was really calm, but then after being pinned down for so long, and my legs were hurting and I couldn't move them and I couldn't fill them and things like that, I started to panic myself.

I was calling my mother. When I called 9-1-1 they say we know, you know we're trying to get there. Then if they are working on everywhere else who's going to come get us?

LORI WOOTON, HID IN DAUGHTER'S BASEMENT DURING TORNADO: It's a very sad day and I think people are just amazed when they come out of their basements or cellars and they know that their home was just missing. It's just not there.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: So we got in the closet and a huge crash came through and it was our neighbor's tree that just came through the entire back bedroom.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: One minute there was a window and a wall and then the next minute there wasn't.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Definitely scary. I was panicking. I started hearing little glass bits flying through the house and realized that this thing was on top of me.

JESSIE NEWTON, STORM SURVIVOR: The windows start breaking, dogs flying through the air. I didn't know what to do. Walls just feel like they was caving in. It was very scary.


WALKER: Scary, indeed. Terrifying to think just how quickly your life could change. We will have much more from the communities hit by those storms coming up.

And still ahead for us here, the Army-Navy football game showcasing one of our country's most unique and enduring sports rivalries and nothing says America's game like the underdog coming out on top.



WALKER: The 122nd edition of the Army-Navy football game brought all the tradition and emotion. And the underdog won because they called the wrong play. Coy Wire was there. What happened, Coy?

COY WIRE, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: Yes, this was awesome. Good morning, Amara.

For well over a century the Army-Navy game has embodied the spirit of true sportsmanship, intense rivalry, where anything can happen from players to the future defenders of our nation.

And it said that it's the only game where everyone playing would sacrifice their own life for everyone watching. This is America's game.

Army's record coming in was eight and three, Navies just three and eight. But in the 4th quarter with a one-point lead, Navy goes for it.

Diego Fagot gets the direct snap on a fake punt break and tackle, keeping a 15 play nine-minute drive alive for Navy. And it helps them drain the clock and secure a 17-13 upset win.

But get this, Fagot said afterward, Amara it was a mistake. He didn't even know the ball was coming to him and neither did Head Coach Ken Niumatalolo.

Turns out the long snapper thought he heard an audible to could -- to run the fake. Not the case. Hey, a win is a win and the Mids they'll take it.


JOHN KELLY III, NAVY LINEBACKER: you know, I never win my whole life for something like this. In the last four years now it has been tough -- it has been a tough season but going to finish off this way is remarkable.

My teammates are incredible. Offense, defense, they did amazing. I'm so happy for us.

CHANCE WARREN, NAVY SLOT BLACK: Again, we just grab it. I love this team. I love this team man. It did go how we wanted it all season. What we pre-season -- every week, every game who came out, we got what we wanted man. Repeat on me, man freedom guy let's go.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What we've got?

WARREN: We've done it, man.


WIRE: And Bryce Young makes history in New York last night becoming the first Alabama quarterback to ever win the Heisman trophy.

The sophomore from California led the nation with 43 passing touchdowns, cementing his status with a record-setting performance and a blowout of Georgia in the SEC Championship last weekend.

Young still has plenty to play for. The Tide plays Cincinnati in the Cotton Bowl, New Year's Eve with a spot in the National Championship on the line.

Finally, NYC FC are your new MLS champions. New York overcoming a hostile road environment in Portland and an equalizer by the Timbers in the 94th minute to gut out in penalty kicks.

Their first-ever title in team history, Amara. Huge night of sports, congrats to NYC FC, Bryce Young, and for this year as they say go Navy beat Army.

WALKER: Awesome. Good stuff. Thank you so much Coy Wire.

And our coverage continues in our next hour as families are waking up to a new reality after deadly tornadoes rip through at least six states.

Next, we're going to head to one of the hardest-hit places. That would be Mayfield, Kentucky with an update on the search efforts there.



WALKER: The 15th annual CNN Heroes All-Star tribute salutes 10 extraordinary people who put others first all year long. The star- studded Gala airs live tonight at 8 p.m. Eastern.


JENIFER COLPAS, TIERRA GRATA: There was no drinkable water, something inside me started saying you need to do something about it.

DR. ALA STANFORD, BLACK DOCTORS COVID-19 CONSORTIUM: I could not allow one additional life to be lost.

LYNDA DOUGHTY, MARINE MAMMALS OF MAINE: I feel this responsibility to help these animals. This is what I was put on this earth to do.

SHIRLEY RAINES, BEAUTY 2 THE STREETS: They started calling me a makeup lady. I love them because I am with them.

ZANNAH MUSTAPHA, FUTURE PROWESS ISLAMIC FOUNDATION: What keeps me going is the resilience of these children.

HECTOR GUADALUPE, A SECOND U FOUNDATION: We want to give you your second chance at life. It provides you a way to dream.

MICHELLE NEFF HERNANDEZ, SOARING SPIRITS: We help people live through something they did not think that they would survive.

DR. PATRICIA GORDON, CURE CERVICAL CANCER: I'm just doing the job that I'm supposed to do. I think I'm the luckiest doctor that ever lived.

DAVID FLINK, EYE TO EYE: I want them to know that their brains are beautiful. You have to love each other across our difference.

MADE JANUR YASA, PLASTIC EXCHANGE: That is no small grid. If you believe, it will succeed.

ANNOUNCER: Join Anderson Cooper and Kelly Ripa live as they named the 2021 Hero of the Year.

KELLY RIPA, CNN HOST: Welcome to the CNN Heroes family.

ANNOUNCER: The 15th annual CNN Heroes All-Star Tribute, tonight at 8 Eastern.


WALKER: What a way to lift your spirits. Make sure to watch CNN Heroes.