published Friday, October 28th, 2011

Cleveland family's home rebuilt six months after April 27 tornadoes

Jessica, Sandy and Terry Parker, from left, celebrate the reopening of the Parker's home in Cleveland, Tenn., after it had been damaged six months ago during the April 27 tornado. Volunteers from various organizations, including churches and nonprofits, have been steadily rebuilding since the storms. Thursday's gathering was a marker for Bradley County's recovery.
Jessica, Sandy and Terry Parker, from left, celebrate the reopening of the Parker's home in Cleveland, Tenn., after it had been damaged six months ago during the April 27 tornado. Volunteers from various organizations, including churches and nonprofits, have been steadily rebuilding since the storms. Thursday's gathering was a marker for Bradley County's recovery.
Photo by Jenna Walker.

CLEVELAND, Tenn. — The Parker family was back home Thursday, six months after a tornado churned through their neighborhood.

Gov. Bill Haslam and Tennessee first lady Chrissy Haslam, with other state and local officials, a crowd of neighbors, first responders and storm recovery volunteers gathered around the front porch on Eggleston Drive to mark the occasion.

“This is how a community comes together,” the governor said.

He remembered being in Southeast Tennessee the day after the April 27 tornadoes ripped neighborhoods apart and killed nearly two dozen people in Bradley and Hamilton counties.

“At the end of the day, government can do about this much,” Haslam said, raising his hand with two fingers separated a short distance. “But all of us together can do a whole lot more,” he said, spreading his arms.

Earlier Thursday morning, Haslam visited the new Whirlpool construction site.

State Rep. Kevin Brooks. R-Cleveland, introduced Haslam to the crowd. “April 27 was a very difficult day for thousands of Bradley Countians,” Brooks said. “Representative [Eric] Watson and I had many conversations late into the night and early into the morning.”

Thursday’s ceremony began with a hymn sung by the Lee Singers and the ringing of a bell, once each for the nine lives lost here in the storms.

Sandy Parker remembered April 27 when “I was sitting and playing on my computer. My son and husband were out in the front yard watching the wind. All of a sudden they came in and said ‘get in the hall and lay down.’ And before we got in there all of our windows started exploding,” she said.

She and daughter Jessica were praying. Son Cody was holding onto them. Terry Parker was trying to hold the door closed.

Kent Berry, a local builder, said it was tough to convince Parker to let others help with the rebuild.

But the volunteers, from churches, Habitat for Humanity, neighbors and the Long Term Recovery Committee, worked with the Parkers over the past six months.

Follow the latest Chattanooga news on Facebook

about Randall Higgins...

Randall Higgins covers news in Cleveland, Tenn., for the Times Free Press. He started work with the Chattanooga Times in 1977 and joined the staff of the Chattanooga Times Free Press when the Free Press and Times merged in 1999. Randall has covered Southeast Tennessee, Northwest Georgia and Alabama. He now covers Cleveland and Bradley County and the neighboring region. Randall is a Cleveland native. He has bachelor’s degree from Tennessee Technological University. His awards ...

Comments do not represent the opinions of the Chattanooga Times Free Press, nor does it review every comment. Profanities, slurs and libelous remarks are prohibited. For more information you can view our Terms & Conditions and/or Ethics policy.
please login to post a comment

videos »         

photos »         

e-edition »

advertisement
advertisement
400 East 11th St., Chattanooga, TN 37403
General Information (423) 756-6900
Copyright, Permissions, Terms & Conditions, Privacy Policy, Ethics policy - Copyright ©2014, Chattanooga Publishing Company, Inc. All rights reserved.
This document may not be reprinted without the express written permission of Chattanooga Publishing Company, Inc.