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Brittany Howerton

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Post tornado, Union students, faculty return with optimism

JACKSON, Tenn. (BP)--Only two weeks after a tornado ripped through Union University, students and faculty brought a sense of optimism in returning to their classes Feb. 20. In addition to a revised schedule and, in some cases, relocated classrooms and offices, the many changes to the campus caused by the EF-4 tornado continue to weigh on hearts and minds at the Jackson, Tenn., campus. Two students remain hospitalized from their injuries.

Union service marks new beginning

JACKSON, Tenn. (BP)--A standing-room-only crowd of 1,500 people gathered in Union University's G.M. Savage Memorial Chapel Feb. 19 to reunite for the first time since a tornado battered the campus Feb. 5.

‘Union’ speaks truth in its name

JACKSON, Tenn. (BP)--I sat for hours thinking about what to write. After an experience like the tornado that hit Union University, a thousand things could be said.

Rescued student felt redemption anew

JACKSON, Tenn. (BP)--Kevin Furniss, a Union University student injured in the devastating Feb. 5 tornado, said from his hospital bed: "Out of nowhere a guy reached down and squeezed my hand and I knew then I was going to make it out."

‘Students are our primary concern,’ Dockery says

JACKSON, Tenn. (BP)--Although the Union University campus suffered millions of dollars in damage when a tornado struck Feb. 5, rebuilding its facilities is not the top priority, President David S. Dockery said Feb. 7.       "We are concerned at the large level with what appears to be untold millions of dollars of damage. We have to try to restore and rebuild on this campus," Dockery said. "But students need to know that is not our primary concern.       "We are concerned about them, their well-being, getting them back into the saddle, getting them back into trying to finish this spring semester," he said. "It's so important, especially for our seniors who are trying to graduate school next fall. We have got to finish this semester, and we're going to do everything we can to ensure that happens."       Dockery said he holds great hope for the future.       "I've gone through several emotions, from the first moment I saw the devastation, to hearing the cries from the students under the rubble, to seeing how in the world we are going to be able to coordinate these efforts Tuesday night -- which were just a jumble [of things]," Dockery said. "Now, nearly 40 hours later, I'm in a state of great hopefulness."       Dockery said a five-phase plan has been implemented to move the university forward in a positive direction: campus assessment, students' return to homes, damage cleanup, resumption of classes and rebuilding the campus.       "We're not going to have everything back to normal tomorrow, on Feb. 18 or even by the end of this spring semester," Dockery said. "But we have a plan in place that's going to move us forward with short-term strategies, intermediate strategies and long-term prospects for a better Union University.

Government officials see Union’s damage

JACKSON, Tenn. (BP)–Recovering from the tornado that ravaged Union University’s campus Feb. 5 will require people to “roll up their sleeves” in a long-term effort, Tennessee Gov. Phil Bredesen said Feb. 7 during a visit to the west Tennessee campus. Bredesen and U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff toured the university to get a firsthand […]