Members Rebuild after Tornadoes Hit Southeast
March 1989

“Members Rebuild after Tornadoes Hit Southeast,” Ensign, Mar. 1989, 75–76

Members Rebuild after Tornadoes Hit Southeast

Latter-day Saints and their nonmember neighbors helped each other pick up the pieces of their lives and homes after devastating tornadoes swept through Raleigh, North Carolina, late last year. And Church members in Franklin, Tennessee, are rebuilding after another tornado nearly destroyed their stake center.

In North Carolina, the homes of three LDS families in the Raleigh First Ward were destroyed. “One family’s home is being reconstructed, but the other two families have had to start over with nothing,” said Bishop Vern L. Christensen. Homes of ten other families in the First Ward were damaged, but repairs are underway. Homes were also damaged in the Raleigh Second and Fourth wards, but no members were seriously injured.

Church members in Raleigh and in other area stakes offered volunteers, resources, equipment, and financial aid to members and nonmembers whose homes were damaged or destroyed. Latter-day Saints organized work crews to help remove trees and debris from yards, sort through damaged possessions, and repair damaged homes. Bishop Christensen received many notes and cards from nonmembers expressing their thanks. “We also received calls from numerous people asking if they could donate money to the Church to help families” affected by the tornadoes, he said.

In Tennessee, a tornado hit the Franklin Tennessee Stake Center on December 24. President Todd Christofferson reported that the entire roof of the cultural hall collapsed. Salvageable portions of the building include the chapel, stake and bishops’ offices, multipurpose rooms, and children’s rooms. Reconstruction is expected to take eight months.

The Franklin and Brentwood wards are meeting in the Franklin and Brentwood high schools in the Williamson County School District. The school district was “very helpful and made sure we could meet in the schools the week after the tornado,” President Christofferson said. Baptist churches in the area have also let the stake use their facilities for basketball games and practices.