JACKSON, Tenn. – Feb. 9, 2008 – Tennessee Sen. Bob Corker praised Union University’s leadership, students and community Feb. 8 for the inspiring way they responded to the devastating tornado that struck the campus Feb. 5.
“The devastation here is hard to visualize, even on TV,” said Corker, R-Tenn., in remarks during a press conference. “To see (the destruction) in person really makes such a lasting impression. To see the people in this area, the way they’ve responded, it’s incredibly heart-warming.
“The nation focused on this outstanding university and I have to tell you the way the students handled themselves here has inspired a nation. I know that Union’s leaders can be awfully proud of these students.”
As Corker toured the campus with David S. Dockery, Union president, he stopped to tell groups of students how proud he was of them.
“There was no loss of life. I think that was an absolute miracle,” Corker said. “I’m glad to be in the presence of the wonderful people who make up this university and certainly to be around so many people in this community who are pitching in to help each other.”
Before Corker’s Friday afternoon visit to Union, he had spent the day with President George Bush in Macon County surveying damage from the tornado in that area. Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., who was also with Bush and Corker in Macon, plans to visit the Union campus Monday.
Bush signed the paperwork Thursday night naming Madison County a disaster area, meaning people in that county are eligible to apply for federal aid.
In his remarks during the press conference, Dockery thanked Corker for coming to campus and giving support to the university community.
“It is inspiring and encouraging for all of us at Union University to receive a visit from (Sen. Corker), to receive his affirmation, to know of his care and concern for our students, as well as our faculty and staff, at this particular time,” Dockery said.
“We have moved over the last 48 hours from an emergency crisis mode to a time of recovery today with volunteers on campus to help,” he continued. “We’re focused on the future and moving forward. That could not have happened without all the people who have come out to support us including the (Jackson and Madison County) mayors, Jackson police and fire departments, emergency and health care personnel, and of course, our great students here at this university.”
Corker also commended the workers and volunteers for their efforts.
“My hat’s off to the city mayor, the county mayor, the EMS workers – all the people who pitched in,” he said. “And, certainly to your great university leader who has had a vision here over the last 13 years, and I know is now having to focus on things he wasn’t planning to focus on.”
Corker encouraged students and people in the community displaced by the tornado to call (800)621-FEMA to receive assistance in finding a place to live.
By Andrea Turner ('08)