One year anniversary of tornado hitting Union University - Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Reported by Jamel Major

One year anniversary of tornado hitting Union University

Updated:

JACKSON, TN (WMC) - One year ago Thursday night, the country's worst tornado outbreak in two decades hit the Mid-South.

The deadly storms took the lives of 59 people in four states, including 3 people who died in Hickory Hill.

Among the destruction and devastation came one truly amazing story of survival.

Late in the evening on February 5th, 2008, a twister tore through the campus of Union University in Jackson, Tennessee.

Incredibly, every single student and faculty member at the school survived.

A year has definitely made a big difference on campus.

Students, faculty and staff have a lot to be thankful for and proud of.

Through song and prayer, Thursday night was a time to reflect on what has been one of the most challenging times in Union University's history.

It was also a time to thank the thousands of volunteers who went above and beyond to help the school rebuild after a devastating tornado.

Student Jordan Thompson said, "The help that came through these people, the workers, everything.  It's what kept the school afloat and what gave us the hope we would be able to get back into school."

It's a journey that began the day the tornado caused 40 million dollars in damage to the Union campus.

The storm crushed 70 percent of student housing and badly damaged 6 other buildings.

More than 50 students were injured.

While no lives were lost that night, Kevin Bradley still considers himself lucky.

Bradley said, "We were taking shelter in a bathroom.  When it hit, the entire building just collapsed on us.  There were 7 of us completely trapped for about 4 hours."

Just days after the tornado, the school began an aggressive rebuilding plan to get the college back up and running.

Over a 6 month period, 14 new dorms were built on campus.

Staff member Stacy Preston said, "It's definitely a new campus.  It's great to be here after the new dorms are up.  It looks different from a year ago."

Students, faculty and staff say they couldn't have done it without the support of those who have made it possible for the lights of Union University to continue to shine especially during its darkest hour of need.

Student Brad Boswell said, "We're on our feet again and stronger than ever."

All proceeds from Thursday night's event will benefit the Rebuilding Union Fund.


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