NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – It was 15 years ago when a violent F-3 tornado ripped through Sumner County, killing seven and injuring many more. The tornado weaved a path of destruction stretching from Goodlettsville all the way to Gallatin despite only being on the ground for 20 minutes.
Fifteen years ago, Amy Hawkins was prepared to lay down her life for her two young sons, just three and six years old at the time. Hawkins shielded them with her body as bricks and cinderblocks rained down all around them and the tornado destroyed their home.
Hawkins and her two sons survived, but she was paralyzed from the waist down.
“The last few years, I gain a little more feeling back every year but it’s always in the form of pain. So I can feel tingling down in my toes. But I’ve got this nerve pain, of course in my back but in my legs as nerves are reconnecting,” she told News 2.
Despite her health struggles, Hawkins remains an incredibly positive person.
“Even family will be [like] we don’t understand how you just keep on going. I do have a depth of determination that was just born with me,” Hawkins said.
As for Jair and Cole, her two sons, they are now 21 and 18 years old and she couldn’t be prouder of them. Jair is a firefighter in Portland, and Cole is finishing up boot camp and will soon head to Houston for EMT training.
The events that happened 15 years ago helped shape them into the men that they would become, according to Hawkins.
“But I think [in] some ways there was stuff that was added to our life and then seeing me and having to grow up with a disabled mother. I think it opened up their eyes to a lot more things. And they were [a] greater part of the community than [they] would have been.”
Amy also thinks often about those who have lost their lives or have been injured due to recent severe weather events.
“I just want to say to anybody that’s lost somebody ever to a storm or tornado, you’re always in my prayers and never far from my thoughts.”