tstarnes@uu.edu.  The compassion of a dove
Marilyn and I have been watching a morning dove who nested and has been sitting on the e" /> After the Storm: Stories from the Union Family - News Release | Union University, a Christian College in Tennessee

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After the Storm: Stories from the Union Family

JACKSON, Tenn.May 7, 2003Following, is a compilation of stories involving Union University faculty and staff in the moments before and after the May 5 tornado. Send your story to Todd Starnes, Director of University Communications, tstarnes@uu.edu.

The compassion of a dove
Marilyn and I have been watching a morning dove who nested and has been sitting on the eggs up in our gutter on the front (north) side of the house. She is always constantly and only changes position to avoid facing the sun. During the storm the hail came at us from the north side. I walked out the next morning expecting the dove to be dead. Instead, I saw a terrible semblance of the bird sitting up on the nest, its features horribly disfigured by the hail, but it was alive. I sadly presumed that this was the female “mother-to-be”.

However, a couple of hours later I saw the real female, sitting on the next, apparently untouched by the storm. The other bird was gone. It was apparent to me that the male had come and covered the eggs with his body while his mate found refuge, until she could return after the storm. Sometimes God’s creatures act with more compassion than His human children.
Richard Joiner
Chair, Dept. of Music

Singing in the freezer
Several Union University music majors had gone to a local restaurant to grab a bite late that evening. When the hail started to fall, the manager herded the group with other customers and serving persons into the freezer.

Sitting there in the freezer, very frightened, the Union ladies began to pray, then started singing hymns, to which everyone joined in -- in the freezer.
Richard Joiner
Chair, Dept. of Music

A new purpose
I have fond memories of watching my son play basketball for JCM at Oman Arena. As I looked into the faces of displaced people at the shelter at Oman arena, I was reminded that my roof leaks and broken screens were trivial in comparison. I was there as a Red Cross volunteer. Many were in wheelchairs, having been evacuated from the New Southern Hotel in downtown Jackson. Others gathered with family around cots on what would have been the basketball court.

These people were most appreciative of the stew, hot dogs, and fruit cocktail prepared by the Salvation Army in Memphis. Their immediate needs were being met -- food and shelter. They carried their few belongings in garbage sacks. The politeness was heartwarming. Many spoke of God's grace for their lives and the lives of family members. I realized that I received far more than I gave. I am blessed abundantly, but spiritually, so are many of these victims! I continue to pray for our community and these brave souls.
Pat Laffoon
Adjunct Professor

Losing everything
I worked as a volunteer at the Red Cross Shelter in Dyersburg last night. We had 16 people from 6 or 7 different families at the shelter. Most were from the Barker Mobile Home Park which was hard hit in Dyersburg.

One man lost everything - his house blown away and his car crushed. He has no insurance so he is really concerned about how he will make it.

My husband helped him get in touch with a temporary agency who was going to help him today to find some temporary work.
Tharon Kirk
Associate Professor, School of Nursing

Lending a hand
I volunteer with the Red Cross and we have a group of public relations students in my service-learning course who had planned, developed and organized a project to help the Red Cross this week called "Changing Lives with Your Spare Change"

As it turns out, the timing is sadly appropriate. All proceeds go directly to the Disaster Relief Fund of the Jackson Area Chapter of the American Red Cross. Any help you can give them in getting the word out and supporting their work is appreciated by the chapter.
Melinda Clarke
Assistant Professor, Communication Arts

A caring community
Andy and Beth Madison (in biology) had water in their attic from roof leaks. His wife called and asked if I could come and bring a ladder to help him. By the time I got there 30 minutes later, Union and West Jackson Baptist Church folks were already there with two other ladders, patching his roof and cutting plastic for his attic. Andy's wife was inside cooking for another family that didn't have electricity. They were helping while they were being helped!

Another item -- we have an empty freezer that David Malone in my department is filling with the contents of their freezer because he doesn't have electricity. I was tickled to see that everyone in my department had been calling one another to check on what was going on. This is such a caring community.
Gene Fant
Chair, English

Back on the air
I was drafted back into service Monday by WBBJ-TV and covered the fall of one of Jackson's oldest broadcasting landmarks: the 580-foot tower for WTNV FM-104. The old tower dated back to 1947 and was visible from North Highland behind the woods just past First Baptist Church. Had the winds shifted in a different direction, the tower could have crashed into one or more of the few homes behind the station on Radio Road---or they could have toppled the tower against the station's studio, which would likely have killed the air personalities on duty. Instead, that piece of steel which was the length of two football fields fell in the woods and only toppled trees. God's mercy is often demonstrated in mind-boggling ways in the midst of a storm.
Steve Beverly
Communication Arts

Related Resource(s): May 2003 Tornado Photo Gallery
Media contact: Chris Allen, news@uu.edu, 731-661-5215

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