Danny Tomlinson was last seen on May 1 before being swept away by floodwaters in Bellevue.
NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Family, friends and strangers, all touched by the life of Danny Tomlinson, filled the sanctuary of Highland Park Church Sunday night for a memorial service to remember the 39-year-old.
From Pegram, Tomlinson was swept away by floodwaters on the night of May 1 on Newsom Station Road near Highway 70S in Bellevue.
His vehicle was recovered a few days later but his body was never found despite daily searches for nearly a month.
A Sunday's service, Tomlinson's niece Brooke Weidenburner read from a paper she wrote about her uncle.
"He is in my prayers, my thoughts and my dreams, because those three things are the only things I have left with my uncle Danny in it," read Weidenburner from the stage during the memorial service. "Danny was a wonderful man, son, brother, uncle and friend. In my heart and I am sure in all of yours, he will always be there with us."
While tears were shed during the service, it was also a time to celebrate Tomlinson "and his story and his life that has touched everybody," according to his sister, Chelsea Simmons.
"You would not believe all the people who have came forward and said your brother touched my life," she continued.
Simmons told News 2 her brother, a tough mixed martial arts cage fighter, tried to maintain a tough image but was really a very caring person.
"He bought a fish for $60 that had one eye and swam sideways because he said nobody else would give that fish a home. He said, ‘I wanted him to have a good home.' He bought that fish and he still has it and it swims sideways. It's got one eye and he loved it," she recalled.
Tomlinson, who worked for a prosthetic company, also helped people like Jose Lovato. When Lovato needed a prosthetic leg, Tomlinson helped provide one.
"He did not even tell us that he was doing that," said Simmons. "We had no idea until [Jose] came forward and said, ‘Danny did this for me.'"
The memorial service was also a chance to bring the family closure. Closure, however, will only fully come when Tomlinson's body is found.
Family members said they plan to continue searching the Harpeth River for him on weekends and every chance they get.