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Feb. 5 thanksgiving service will mark 1-year anniversary of Union tornado

The new student housing quads were built after the Feb. 5, 2008, tornado destroyed much of Union's student housing.
The new student housing quads were built after the Feb. 5, 2008, tornado destroyed much of Union's student housing.

JACKSON, Tenn.Jan. 15, 2009 – Union University will mark the one-year anniversary of the Feb. 5, 2008, tornado that destroyed much of the university’s campus with a thanksgiving dinner and service Feb. 5 at the Carl Perkins Civic Center.

The tornado caused about $40 million in damage to the Union campus, wiping out 70 percent of student housing and badly damaging six other buildings. Fifty-one students were injured that night, but no lives were lost.

In the days after the tornado, more than 5,000 volunteers and 8,000 donors from all over the world came to Union’s aid. The university regrouped, resumed classes on Feb. 20 and embarked upon an aggressive rebuilding plan that saw 14 new student housing buildings completed and opened for the fall 2008 semester.

“The Feb. 5 commemorative event provides opportunity for the university to offer praise to God for his providential care for the Union family over the past 12 months,” Union President David S. Dockery said. “In addition, this time of celebration gives us the privilege to say a huge word of appreciation to all of those in this West Tennessee community who have helped us through the most challenging days in Union’s history.”

“Remembering Feb. 5: An Evening of Thanksgiving” will feature a 250-voice community choir, plus testimonies from students and others whose lives were changed by the tornado. The service will also include a time of recognition for the “dedicated efforts of first responders, community and church leaders, contractors, construction workers and all who went above and beyond the call of duty to help rebuild and restore Union University,” Dockery said.

The banquet will begin at 6 p.m., with the program starting at 6:45 p.m. Seats for the banquet are $125, with tables of eight available for $1,000. Balcony seats are $25. All proceeds will benefit the Rebuilding Union Fund.

For more information or to reserve seats, call (731) 661-5050 or (800) 338-6644.

Media contact: Tim Ellsworth, news@uu.edu, 731-661-5215

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