March 2nd we went to bed ready for another Tuesday of work, sales meetings and workouts…but at 1:49am all plans were changed and our community was turned upside down, tossed around and dropped. I don’t sleep when it storms…I clean…I’m talking laundry done, dishes washed, everything picked up and put away…if it’s in a closet, cabinet or drawer when a storm hits my big girl panties won’t be hanging in a tree. Crazy I know. Well this morning it started lightning and I got up to check the weather, just got the tv on when the phones started going off…woke my husband and my daughter and her dog were headed down the stairs when the hale started immediately followed by horrible winds. Within 5-6 minutes back to light rain, we never went to the basement. My husband was complaining that we would have trees down and my daughter was eating a bowl of cereal. Then we started getting text messages “you ok?”, “any damage?” “you guys ok?”…sure we’re in the kitchen fixing to go back to bed. Powers out and no internet and spotty cell service…back to bed. Then we start hearing sirens, they are getting louder…go outside it’s dark and quiet except for the sirens are getting louder and the faint wane of the tornado siren in Baxter. We get in the car and drive 3/4 mile down our road to DEVASTATION.
We are now 10 days out…the volunteers, community and complete strangers have stocked, re-stocked and overflowed donation centers. Blood banks had lines to give blood…people waiting over 4 hours to donate with no complaints. Strangers have dug through piles of debris for an injured 2 yr old’s “lovie”. Pictures and mementoes have been found everywhere more than 50miles away. Facebook has helped connect these items with their owners or the family left. Volunteer groups have come from everywhere to help, working all day and sleeping in church buildings at night. Food trucks and cooking groups are everywhere just wanting to help. Bottled water is everywhere.
The hardest part has begun now…the community has buried a family of 3 including a 2yr old, a 13 yr old awaiting her adoption, a 4yr old who passed in your daddy’s arms, friends and neighbors are daily being laid to rest…this night took 19 lives in our community.
10 days later everything is shutting down, ball tournaments cancelled, the Masters delayed, stock market tanking, the Great Toilet Paper shortage…Coronavirus! Please COVID19 ain’t got nothing we can’t overcome…We are #COOKEVILLESTRONG #PUTNAMPROUD.