Union University suffers damage from F1 tornado: No One Injured
The Hurt Commons building suffered most of the damage from the tornado that hit
on Saturday, Nov. 9. Construction crews began working on restructuring the wall
on Monday, Nov. 11 and the commons will receive new carpet and furniture.
Early Sunday morning, Nov. 10, time stood still at Union University.
That’s when, according to student eyewitness accounts and the National Weather
Service, an F1 tornado formed above the campus, creating 110-mile-an-hour winds
which blew dumpsters and picnic tables through the air, knocked down trees and
power lines, and broke and shattered glass windows in cars and buildings. The
time on the clock of the university’s Miller Tower read 12:05. It would stay
that way for the next 18 hours. (READ MORE)
Daylight brings reality of storm’s impact at Union
McAfee Resident Director son Seth Herr and friend Matthew Van Neste climb on a
large tree that fell behind the McAfee Commons Saturday night as a result of the
As the sun came up over the campus Sunday, Nov. 10, a warm breeze blew through
the white tarp stretched over the side of Hurt Commons where a wall of glass
windows had blown in from the tornado’s high winds. The morning brought a sharp
contrast to the darkness and storminess of the night before, and while students
slept, resting from the terror of the storm which had occurred only hours
before, administrators and staff continued to work, organizing a command center
in the Watters commons which had not been damaged as extensively as its sister
building and closing off all entrances to the campus except the Walker Road
entrance where a security guard was stationed at the Welcome House. (READ MORE)
Union University community
spirit shines in midst of crisis
Director of Computing Services John David Barham helps
cart off the mass of debris blown off of residence life complex roofs by the
“Things are replaceable – people aren’t.”
The phrase seemed to echo throughout Union University’s campus in the first
daylight hours of Monday morning, Nov. 11, as faculty, staff, students and
volunteers from the community met bright and early to begin an all-day cleanup
effort after the campus was hit by raging heavy winds from an F1 tornado that
formed directly above the student residential buildings shortly before midnight
the previous Saturday night. Though the damage appeared extensive, spirits were
high as the reality of what occurred and the significance that no one was hurt
was realized. (READ MORE)
Students recall experiences from the
Union Tornado of 2002
Sophomore Katie Grashot from
Millington, TN calls her insurance company about the damage sustained
to her car as a result of the tornado that hit campus Saturday night.
With classes back in session on Tuesday, stories of Union
students and their experiences with the events over the weekend began to
circulate. The following are brief accounts which give witness to the
seriousness of the storm and the thankfulness that God provides.
Catherine Bland, a junior DMS major, was with eight other
people in her McAfee room when the storms hit campus...
Union student walks away from tornado's
Junior Lauren Robbins, psychology
major, had sustained major damage to her Toyota as a result of the
On Saturday night, Union senior Christine Ealey walked away
unscathed from an experience few people live to tell about – being caught
in the center of a tornado. After leaving her job as a waitress at a local
restaurant when the tornado warning sirens sounded, she decided to make an
attempt to reach her apartment before the storm hit. By the time she had
made it north of the 45 Bypass, just opposite of Union, the rain was
pouring down. Suddenly, she saw a funnel in front of her and in the next
instant the wind was swirling all around her car, as a jet-like roar
exploded all around her.
Student security guard says life was spared
During the tornado the front windows
of the McAfee Commons were blown out. Here we see McAfee Residence
Director Dan Herr entering the temporarily repaired commons after
organizing a lunch for the clean-up volunteers.
A heart racing chase scene, falling objects, and a near death
experience all sound like parts of an action adventure movie, but they
were reality for Union junior Sasha Stojiljkovic when he survived a run-in
with the tornado that hit the campus near midnight on Saturday.
Stojiljkovic, who was working the late shift for security and
stationed at Union’s Welcome House located at the entrance on Walker Road,
had become apathetic to the tornado sirens after nothing had come of the
first two of the evening. When the entry gates by the guardhouse began to
shake, he quickly looked over toward Jennings and saw a huge cloud of dust
blowing his way.
Frantically, he called Mary Akin, the security officer on
duty, on his radio who he could see was driving near Jennings. He and Akin
drove rapidly toward McAffee Commons in search of shelter, narrowly
missing a falling telephone pole and almost hitting parked cars and a
fallen tree in the process. At one point, their vehicle was lifted briefly
into the air.