Thursday marked the two-year anniversary of a deadly and destructive outbreak of tornadoes that ripped through the central portion of Tennessee on March 3, 2020, and claimed innocent 25 lives.
That horrific event was just memorialized in the town of Mt. Juliet, where three of those 25 total victims had been killed, including an elderly couple who were found lying side-by-side in their bed inside their devastated home, local media outlet WKRN reported.
Elderly couple killed by tornado found together in bed
The couple was identified as Jim and Donna Eaton, and it was their grandson, Jacob Hardy-Moore, who had made the terrible discovery that his grandparents’ house had been destroyed when he was sent by his mother to check on them in the aftermath of the severe storms.
He recalled attempting to immediately search for them in the rubble of the home but being cautioned against doing so by rescue and recovery crews due to the darkness and unknown dangers. The search commenced at first light, however, and the couple was reportedly found about 30 minutes later.
Noting that the pair had been found lying together in bed, Hardy-Moore said of the search crew, “They kind of told us, it seems like they were in their sleep when they went, so we found a little bit of peace in that.”
Now Hardy-Moore is seeking to remember the good things about his grandparents, and added, “One of the things that we found in the bathroom was a sign that read, don’t tell God how big your storm is, tell the storm how big your God is, and that’s just how they lived.”
Memorial service for those who were lost
Local media outlet WTVF reported that the town of Mt Juliet held a wreath-laying remembrance ceremony Tuesday evening in honor of the three victims of the tornado in that town — Jim and Donna Eaton as well as a security guard named Brandy Barker.
The ceremony, hosted by city officials and the town’s Chamber of Commerce, involved a prayer, a presentation by an honor guard, remarks from the mayor, and a candlelight vigil for everyone whose lives were impacted by the devastating storms.
Mt. Juliet Police Chief James Hambrick told local media outlet WSMV that the ceremony was important in that he hoped it would help bring comfort and hope to the still-recovering community.
“Sometimes people think when an event is over and you rebuild … people seem to think you will forget about what happened in the past. This is a reminder. We will never forget,” the chief said.
At least 10 tornadoes ripped a 100-mile path, killing 25
According to an interactive report from The Tennessean in the weeks after that terrible event in March 2020, it was explained and displayed through graphics and maps how at least 10 separate tornadoes were confirmed to have touched down and carved a 100-mile path through Middle Tennessee, decimating and destroying small towns and big-city neighborhoods along the way.
In all, 25 people were killed, including five children, and it is a safe bet that most or all of those devastated locations, just like Mt. Juliet, will be memorializing those who suffered and were lost in the tragic storms.