Today is the year anniversary of the F4 tornado that hit Union University.
You may think why would you want to reflect on something so devastating, and yes it was total devastation on the campus of Union University where my two sons attend college. The cause of remembering such a day is to remember that the Lord had his hand of protection on our campus. Even though 70% of the student housing was flattened and the cost would be $40 million in damages, not one single person was killed. If you could have seen the rubble that was once dorm rooms, you would not believe that one person could survive, but not only did one survive, but ALL. There were students trapped beneath the rubble including Matt Kelley who was trapped for 5 hours. Matt spent two and a half months in the hospital recovering, but today gives praise to the Lord who has walked each step with him along the way. Today, Matt is back to walking the golf course for the Union golf team. As Dr. Dockery looked at the rubble of his campus, he thought Union would be no more. Thanks to many volunteers and donations our Campus is not only back up and running, but better than ever. God has great plans for Union and it’s student.
I too remember that day. I live only a few miles from campus. I remember being home alone as the tornado alarms were going off. Randy, my husband, and my son, Tanner, had ran to the store. Dustin was at campus. Cody was working near campus. I start calling trying to figure out where everyone was. Dustin gets home in the middle of the alarms going off. His piano student didn’t show so he came home. Randy is on his way home. The storm hits across the rode from the store that they just left. Cody is hunkered down at work, he heard the tornado as it passed by. Dustin gets a call that Union had been hit hard. We want to go to help, but the radio announcer says, “DO NOT GO TO UNION”. We feel helpless. The next morning we get up to go see if we can help. We could not believe our eyes. We were not allowed to enter campus. It was too devastated. Hundreds of cars are scatter everywhere, debris is everywhere, it looked like a war zone. Again, we feel helpless. Not only was Union hit, but several homes and business were destroyed as well. We help our church clean up the yards of several homes. It was so hard to believe that one storm could cause so much destruction. It was also amazing that unless you were in the path you were safe. It was so odd how you could not even see debris until you came in view of the path. Our home was untouched. We didn’t even have a limb in the yard, yet a mile away it destroyed everything in it’s path.
Tonight Union holds “An Evening of Thanksgiving” it will feature a 250-voice community choir, plus testimonies from students and others whose lives were changed by the tornado. The service will also include a time of recognition for the “dedicated efforts of first responders, community and church leaders, contractors, construction workers and all who went above and beyond the call of duty to help rebuild and restore Union University.
My son Dustin will be one of the voices in the choir. I will try to get some pictures and maybe even a video tonight so you can share in our thanksgiving.
Fear thou not; for I [am] with thee: be not dismayed; for I [am] thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness. Is. 41:10