Hattiesburg has been home to me for 20 years now. From the beginning I knew the Hub City was a special place to live. But I never could have imagined how strong the bond is that this community holds when tragedy strikes. In February of 2013, Hattiesburg was struck by a very violent F4 tornado. It was one of eight tornadoes that touched down in southern Mississippi and southwestern Alabama that day. The damage to homes was unexplainable and unimaginative. Miraculously, no one was killed by the tornado. This community came together in a way that touched my heart forever. Volunteer headquarters were set up immediately and an overwhelming number of citizens were showing up to ask how they could help.
In the hours after the tornado, crews of five to six people were going door to door to check on the well being of their neighbors. An influx of supplies, money and tarps were brought to our headquarters and distributed to those in need. We had over 1,000 volunteers over a period of 16 days with boots on the ground assisting in everything from tree removal, to caring for those that were displaced and homeless.
The outpouring of love and compassion this community showed is what makes Hattiesburg one of the most amazing places to call home.