Mother left paralyzed looks back on devastating tornado

2006 Tornado

HENDERSONVILLE, Tenn. – Four years ago Wednesday, Middle Tennessee was hit with a devastating tornado.

The path of the F-3 tornado crossed through Gallatin and into Hendersonville and traveled directly over the Hawkins’ family home.

Amy Hawkins
Amy Hawkins

It’s a day Amy Hawkins will never forget. She was paralyzed from the waist down as she shielded her two young boys, then-ages three and six, from falling debris.

“I remember bricks hitting me,” Hawkins recalled Wednesday while playing basketball in the driveway of the family’s new home built by the ABC show “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition.” “They weren’t sure how to tell me I was going to be paralyzed.”

“You don’t really think about it until the time comes,” she said of using her body to shield her young children. “You know that you’d put your life on the line for the kids. You do what needs to be done.”

After all she went through, all her boys went through and what the town went through, Hawkins told News 2 she has more respect for weather than ever, but believes her spirit is stronger than the storm.

She said, “It doesn’t mean I’m going to give up trying, that I’ll push for the idea of being able to walk one day.”

Her boys, Cole and Jared Hawkins, escaped the storm unscathed.

Volunteer State Community College, April 7, 2006
Volunteer State Community College, April 7, 2006

Volunteer State Community College in Gallatin was also in the path of the twister on April 7, 2006.

“[It] looked like a war zone, cars, trees, power lines, debris… it was a horrible sight,” said one faculty member.

Classes were in session at the time but students hid in the bathrooms and no one was seriously injured.

While all 16 buildings on campus sustained some damage from the storm, the administration building was hit hardest, nearly cut in half by the twister’s path.

The administration building has since been rebuilt and in all, over $9 million was spent on campus repairs.

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