Volunteers from across the city of Nashville came to Tennessee State University’s agricultural farm on Monday to join the TSU family in cleaning up damage from last week’s tornado.
The storm system that hit northwest and east Nashville shortly after midnight last Monday spawned the tornado that damaged portions of TSU’s campus. However, the university’s Ag farm was devastated, with five structures destroyed. Several livestock were also killed.
Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee, as well as other state officials and lawmakers, surveyed the damage last week.
“We appreciate all the support the community is showing TSU,” said Dr. Curtis Johnson, the university’s chief of staff.
Dwight Beard is president of the Nashville Chapter of the TSU National Alumni Association. He said seeing people come from all over the city to help TSU is “awesome!”
“It shows the love of the community,” said Beard, who helped clean up tree limbs and debris in other parts of the campus soon after the tornado hit. “It shows people coming together, and that’s what we should do.”
Among the volunteers were representatives from the Nashville Predators hockey team, which recently partnered with TSU to help raise money for student scholarships.
“The Predators actually closed our office today and sent staff to volunteer at different locations throughout the city to help with tornado relief,” said Robin Lee, the Predators’ director of sponsorship service.
Many of TSU’s own helped in the cleanup effort.
TSU football coach Rod Reed agreed.
“It’s important that as an employee we take responsibility to also help rebuild our own workplace and facilities,” said Dr. S. Keith Hargrove, dean of TSU’s College of Engineering, and one of the cleanup team leaders.
“It’s extremely important for us to get out and show our presence,” said Reed, who brought about 10 football players to help clean up.
Ben Owen of Oak Hill School, a private Christian institution in Nashville, came with five other co-workers.
“We’ve got a heart for service,” said Owen, who is director of technology at the school. “We heard of the need over here, so we organized and came over.”