One Year Anniversary of EF-3 Tornado in Jacksonville
March 19, 2018 will be a day that many people living in the City of Jacksonville will never forget. On this day last year, an EF-3 tornado reaching nearly 150 miles per hour caused extensive damage to homes, property, and to the campus of Jacksonville State University. Cars were flipped, trees were uprooted, and 50 of the university’s 70 buildings were damaged. Fortunately, thousands of students were on spring break and no lives were lost.
Fast forward to a year later, as the university continues recovery efforts, students couldn’t be more excited to see what the future holds. JSU loss only one-percent of its students. University President John Beehler says that typically when there is a natural disaster, universities will lose anywhere from 5-10% of its students. The Jacksonville community gathered inside Pete Mathews Coliseum to acknowledge the one year anniversary. With this being the first building thought to be destroyed on campus, emotions were high as some people took a moment to reflect back to this exact day last year.
In the midst of tragedy, what everyone seemed to remember was how communities came together to help rebuild the university, and the City of Jacksonville. Although there is still work to be done, SGA President Kasey Gamble says she’s thankful to see the campus returning back to normal. Due to the outpouring of love and support JSU has received during recovery mode, the university is looking to return the favor. A donation drive has been organized to help the victims of the Lee County storm. The items listed above are currently being collected inside of Bibb Graves Hall. Several donations boxes are stationed throughout the building. The donation drive will continue for the next several weeks.