HENDERSONVILLE, Tenn (WKRN) – It was 10 years ago Thursday when the so-called “Gallatin Tornado” roared through southern Sumner County.
Seven people lost their lives in that storm on April 7, 2006, but one Hendersonville mother made sure her two sons were not added to that list.
Amy Hawkins grabbed her boys, who were 3 and 6-years-old at the time, and brought them to their basement/garage. She then shielded them with her body as bricks and cinder blocks from their home buried them in rubble.
Amy, who likely saved her kids’ lives that day, suffered severe spinal cord and head injuries and was paralyzed from the waist down. Her situation looked bleak as she faced life in a wheelchair, taking high doses of pain medication, and losing her family’s home.
But help was on the way. The ABC show “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition” contacted the Hawkins family. With the help of local contractors and construction companies, a new home was built while the family was whisked away to Disney World for a vacation.
Unfortunately, Amy’s medical condition was worsening.
“I’ve got two titanium rods on either side of my spine, and the pain just keeps getting worse, and worse, and worse,” she said.
The family soon received even more help from another TV show, “The Doctors.” A specialist re-did the screws, making everything tight.
“It lowered my back pain by 90 percent, and I’m now on one-fifth of the pain meds I was on,” Amy explained.
She went on to say that she has had some feeling return to her legs, and her goal is to walk again one day.
Meanwhile, the family has big plans to move to a farm in Portland, Tennessee. They’re happy to say another young couple with small children will move into the home that served them so well for nearly a decade.