Bowling Green naval wife heads home, husband stays to help in relief efforts

BOWLING GREEN, Ky. (WBKO) -- Blake and Karli Dunnegan, a Bowling Green couple, are now based out at Naval Station Norfolk.

"I mean, he became, like my best friend," said Karli. "And then you move to a city where you're completely alone and you don't have any family and, you get even closer that way."

She's returned back to town, in the face of what's now been downgraded to Tropical Storm Florence. Her husband, however, remains behind.

"Saturday morning he went into work and they said, 'Pack your bags -- 72 hours, you're leaving," said Karli.

It's the first time he's been assigned as a naval volunteer on hurricane and disaster relief.

As an aircrewman, Karli said he's part of a squadron that she believes will be providing supplies from an MH-53 helicopter.

"I'm very proud of him. I've been proud of him since the day he graduated boot camp," she said.

Their apartment in Chesapeake is about 30 minutes from the base. She wasn't in a mandatory evacuation zone but said she lived right along the edge. She packed her things along with her dog and headed back to Bowling Green.

It was while Karli was making the 12-hour drive home that she finally heard from him.

"I literally had to pull over because I just started crying," she said.

It was a sign she wasn't expecting to see so soon. Though Karli doesn't know how long he'll be gone, or if he'll have to aid in other expected storms, she stays steadfast.

"You know I believe in him, and I believe that he'll be safe," she said. "That's the only thing I can do."

Karli said her plan is to head back to Virginia on Sunday, believing her work may reopen.

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