NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — Two years ago, a tornado outbreak ripped through Tennessee, devastating communities and claiming the lives of 25 people. It left behind a path of destruction, devastated homes, stories of survival and a renewed sense of community.
Today, Linda Bennett‘s story of survival and faith still resonates within her Stanford Estates neighborhood in Donelson.
It was the early morning hours of March 3.
“I was asleep on my sofa and I heard this loud roaring noise. It was so intense it awakened me. I remember jumping up, and as I stood up, I remember I said to myself, ‘oh my God,’ because I could hear the tornado,” Bennett said. “I could hear my house shredding. I could hear my house pulling part, I could hear all of that and I took two steps to run and at that time my house just exploded. It truly exploded with me on my feet and it lifted me up and at that point, I just thought I was gone,” Bennett explained.
The mother of three hit the floor, turning to God.
“I remember getting in a fetal position, kneeling and I just started, I started praying because I just felt like I was gone, I just knew that I was gone,” Bennett said.
While her house collapsed around her, she walked out from the rubble with only a few scratches as though she was shielded by God’s hands.
“The whole time my house was being torn up it was just like I had something and their hands over me.”
As daylight broke, her faith was reassured. At the top of the pile of rubble on a wooden beam, her t-shirt with a cross flapped in the wind served as a beacon of light for the broken community in the days of recovery that lay ahead.
“It was stuck to there from the tornado and that let me know I was truly covered, I know it couldn’t be nobody but the lord that saved me that night,” she said.
She was saved that day, but today she still struggles.
“It’s been emotionally very, very, very difficult for me,” Bennett explained, saying she has PTSD and panic attacks when it storms.
Her home is finally built, but she still hasn’t moved in completely as she is facing issues with contractors.
“At one point I was just paralyzed. It took me even six months before I even considered even thinking about coming back here to my home,” she explained.
While it’s been a difficult two years, Bennett leans on the same beliefs that carried her through that dark day in 2020.
“I’m of strong faith and I’ll continue to go and I’ll continue to persevere, so I’ll get through with this. I’ll get through,” she nodded her head.
Today, some of the neighbors have left Stanford Estates. While a number of new homes have been built, construction continues in some parts of the neighborhood.