In early April 2006, a massive F-3 tornado tore through firefighter Jerrod Hawkins' hometown of Henderson, TN. While Jerrod was on duty and could only watch the storm from his fire station, the tornado hit his home directly, ripping the house from its foundation. Amy heroically saved her sons, Jair and Cole, by lying on top of them in the basement. But unfortunately the bricks, debris and concrete that hit Amy caused permanent injuries -- her vertebrae and ribs were crushed, her lungs were punctured, and she sustained serious head trauma. After the tornado subsided, Amy and the boys were found under a pile of rubble by neighbors who called the fire station, where Jerrod had to instruct his neighbors how to give his own wife CPR.
Amy was left paralyzed by the destructive force of nature. She will be confined to a wheelchair for the rest of her life.
The Hawkins' home was completely destroyed. A well-known family in their community, Jerrod has been a firefighter in Hendersonville for eight years and also coaches his son's little league team. Led by the Brentwood Fire Department, the community has rallied around the family with food, monetary and material donations - two hundred volunteers combed the remains of their house after the tornado to recover anything worth salvaging, and the local cleaners took all their remaining clothes and cleaned them for free. The family is temporarily living in a rental house that someone donated for their use, but it's not wheelchair accessible for Amy.
Their hometown of Hendersonville collected over 50,000 names on a petition to the design team for help. Now a home that took seconds for a tornado to destroy will be rebuilt to keep this family together for a lifetime!