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Nashville still recovering from March 2020 tornadoes in Tennessee


NASHVILLE, Tennessee – North Nashville is still recovering from the severe tornadoes that swept through Tennessee in March 2020.

Homes in the historically black neighborhood were among thousands of buildings damaged or destroyed by the seven tornadoes that tore communities apart before the ongoing coronavirus outbreak. In total, the tornadoes killed 25 people and injured hundreds more.

Signs of tornado damage can still be seen along neighborhood streets, such as where Sam Brown is rebuilding his home. A year ago a tornado demolished it in the middle of the night.

“You will never forget this,” Brown said.

Sam Brown takes a moment to look at his house on Thursday, November 5, 2020 in Nashville, Tennessee. Brown decided to become his own contractor to rebuild his demolished house after a tornado ravaged the neighborhood in March 2020. Last year, Brown had to stop and restart his construction process as he struggles to fund his efforts. reconstruction.

Progress since then has been slow as Brown, 59, goes through the financial challenges and learning curve of being his own entrepreneur. He described the experience as stressful and frustrating, but he is grateful to those who were able to help him and his wife, Tina Brown, along the way.

He also praised God.

“Without him I don’t think we would have succeeded,” said Brown, a member of the Galilee Missionary Baptist Church.

Sam Brown looks out of a window as he checks the progress of construction at his home on Thursday, February 11, 2021 in Nashville, Tennessee.

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If work stays on track, Brown and his wife hope to return home in the coming months. It is not clear whether finishing the house will be a new beginning for the couple as life has never stopped, Brown said as he stood outside his house on Monday as work continued.

But coming home will be a special moment.

“It will mean everything,” Brown said.

Here’s a look at the state of recovery efforts a year after the powerful tornadoes.

Sam and Tina Brown examine their home's progress as they rebuild on Monday, August 17, 2020 in Nashville, TN. A tornado ravaged the North Nashville neighborhood on March 3, 2020 flattening Brown's home early that morning.
Sam Brown checks out his property on March 9, 2020 in Nashville, Tennessee. Brown's home was destroyed after a tornado swept through the city.
Owner Sam Brown picks up his belongings as debris from his home is cleared Thursday, March 26, 2020 in Nashville, Tennessee.
A sign rests in the yard of the Sam Brown site on Wednesday, July 22, 2020 in Nashville, Tennessee.
An American flag flies on a utility pole at Sam Brown's site on Wednesday, July 22, 2020 in Nashville, TN. A tornado ripped through the neighborhood of North Nashville on March 3, 2020, demolishing homes early that morning.
Sam Brown walks past his home as he rebuilds on Monday, August 17, 2020 in Nashville, Tennessee.
Sam Brown throws bricks at his home on November 5, 2020 in Nashville, Tennessee. Brown decided to become his own contractor to rebuild his demolished house after a tornado ravaged the neighborhood in March 2020.
Sam Brown checks the progress of the work at his home on Thursday, February 11, 2021 in Nashville, Tennessee. Over the past year, Brown has had to stop and restart his construction process as he struggled to fund his rebuilding efforts.
Sam Brown looks at an electrical approval card as he checks the progress of work at his home on Thursday, February 11, 2021 in Nashville, Tennessee.
Then: A woman looks through her refrigerator after it was ripped from her home in the Elizabeth Park neighborhood of Nashville, Tennessee on March 3, 2020.
Now: A house is being repaired Monday, August 17, 2020 in Nashville, Tennessee. A tornado ravaged the neighborhood of North Nashville on March 3, 2020, damaging homes early that morning.
Next: Residents of the Elizabeth Park neighborhood in Nashville, Tennessee are trying to figure out their next steps after a tornado ripped through their home wall on March 3, 2020.
Now: A house was repaired Wednesday, July 22, 2020 in Nashville, Tennessee, after it was damaged by a tornado on March 3.
A sign reads that a house was condemned on Thursday, August 13, 2020 in Nashville, Tennessee. Many homeowners were unable to make necessary repairs or rebuild after a tornado ravaged the area on March 3, 2020, demolishing homes early that morning.
A residential site is up for sale on Friday, February 12, 2021 in Nashville, TN Some homeowners decided to sell their property after a tornado ravaged the neighborhood in March 2020.
Daniel McDaniel stands outside his home after bringing lunch to members of Hope Force International, a charity, who are repairing his tornado-damaged home on Friday February 12, 2021 in Nashville, Tennessee. March 2020.
Hope Force International's Steve LaForge and Alan Sowell work to repair Daniel McDaniel's tornado-damaged home on Friday, February 12, 2021 in Nashville, Tennessee.
Steve LaForge and Alan Sowell work to repair Daniel McDaniel's tornado-damaged home on Friday, February 12, 2021 in Nashville, Tennessee.
Tracey Watkins looks out the door of her home on Tuesday August 25, 2020 Nashville, Tennessee. While trying to repair her home after the March 3 tornado, Watkins had to overcome financial obstacles, such as fighting with her insurance company for cover repair costs. .
Tracey Watkins prepares a meal for her family at her home on Tuesday, August 25, 2020 in Nashville, Tennessee. She said she was denied federal relief funds and had to dip into her savings to fix her house.
Tracey Watkins logs into a web meeting to work from her home on Friday, February 12, 2021 in Nashville, TN. Watkins slowly had her home repaired after the tornado devastated her neighborhood in March 2020.
Tracey Watkins shows where her roof and ceiling were damaged in her home Thursday, August 13, 2020 in Nashville, Tennessee.
A house was demolished and debris removed Wednesday, July 22, 2020 in Nashville, Tennessee, after being damaged by a tornado in March 2020.
Shortly after a tornado hit, Michael Warren took a photo on his phone of a house that was destroyed across from a house he owns. The house was demolished and now the land is empty on Tuesday May 26, 2020.
Damage in North Nashville as seen from an MNPD helicopter after a tornado landed on Tuesday, March 3, 2020 in Nashville, Tennessee.

Contributing: George Walker IV, Nashville Tennessean

Follow reporter Holly Meyer on Twitter @HollyAMeyer.

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