First responders, rescue personnel and volunteers are searching for survivors as they comb through the debris left by damage to an undetermined number of homes, businesses, churches and other structures in areas around Nashville, Tenn., affected by the Tuesday, March 3, early morning tornadoes. The death toll from the Middle Tennessee storms was at 25 on March 5.
USA Today reported that on Wednesday, March 4, hundreds of additional volunteers “headed for hard-hit neighborhoods to help homeowners and renters sift through debris to find belongings and mementos.”
Among the debris are Bibles, one inscribed with the name of the owner and the date it was inscribed, perhaps marking a birthday or another landmark event in the recipient’s life.
In Putnam County, hardest hit with 18 deaths, the Bible was found among debris by first a responder identified only as Officer Denton of the Sparta Police Department, Amanda Hara of TV station WVLT reported.
"There's not a page gone in this Bible,” Denton told WVLT. It's a family Bible. We'd like to find out whose family Bible it was."
WVLT’s report said that search crews are “collecting items like that Bible and will try to get it back to the rightful owners. Officials said crews found two other Bibles, also untouched.”
One of the Bibles Denton found, the report said, “had been presented to Mary Evelyn Randalph (or Randelph) in 1946.” Hara said Denton asked her to take the Bible and help find its owner.
“You guys have a better shot at getting them back to their rightful owners than we do,” Hara said Denton told her in a live report from the disaster area.
No doubt many Bibles will be found in the rubble of homes, and in churches and other structures damaged by the March 3 tornado and severe weather in and around Nashville.
Along with its famous nickname “Music City USA” – based on its history as the capital of country music and home of the Grand Ole Opry – the city is also referred to as the “buckle of the Bible Belt.” That’s because it’s home to more than 700 churches, headquarters of three Baptist denominations and the United Methodist Church, numerous Bible publishers, Christian colleges and seminaries.
Photo courtesy: Aaron Burden/Unsplash
Tim Tune is a freelance journalist based in Fort Worth, Texas. His work has been published by Baptist Press, as well as the Dallas Morning News, the Fort Worth Business Press, Arlington Today magazine and other North Texas publications.