NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — Tuesday’s tornado ripped through East Nashville, destroying the neighborhood down Holly Street, but some residents say it’s structures like a Methodist church standing in its way that saved their lives.

“My husband I have lived here 12 years,” said Annie Poag who lives with her husband, and three young children on 13th and Holly Street.

Poag says they were asleep when the tornado sirens went off, and her 10-year-old daughter woke them up, scared.

“We told her it would be okay, the sirens go off a lot,” Poag told News 2, “We thought that it was hail hitting our windows, but it was actually debris.

They grabbed the other two kids, 3 and 7, out of bed and ran to the downstairs bathroom.

“We felt the kind of urban legend of the train coming through,” she described, “We felt the shaking, the rumbling, sat, the power was out, sat in our bathroom for a bit.”

When they knew it was safe, they opened the door.

“You don’t realize what it’s going to look like when you step out, and it looked a warzone,” Poag explained.

Across the street, stood the East End United Methodist Church. Its core remained, but the 113-year-old brick took a beating.

“Selfishly I feel so thankful because I do think the church held its ground for us and sheltered us and our neighbors,” Poag said emotionally, “It took the brunt for my family.”

A statement that brings a tear to the reverend’s eyes…

“The church has always been in the business of saving people, and I’m so glad we did,” Reverend Judi Hoffman told News 2.

Poag lost her roof, windows, and has significant water damage, but she, along with many others along Holly Street, says a home isn’t about things, it’s about people.

“We’ve probably been offered 15 places to stay if I can be honest, but we are planning yeah we have a place thankfully in east Nashville that someone’s letting us have,” Poag said, “And we will rebuild, this church will be rebuilt, these things that make us who we are, will be rebuilt.”

Stay with News 2 for continuing coverage of Super Tuesday tornado rebuilding and recovery.

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