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Community gathers for candlelight vigil to remember Waverly flood victims

Community gathers for candlelight vigil to remember Waverly flood victims
Posted at 4:52 AM, Aug 21, 2022
and last updated 2022-08-21 13:14:36-04

WAVERLY, Tenn. (WTVF) — Whether to remember a loved one or to mourn in solidarity with the community, people from Waverly and surrounding areas came together outside the Humphreys County Court House for a candlelight vigil on Saturday night.

It was near that spot that flood waters tore through the town, in the end claiming 20 lives a year ago. The youngest victims were seven month old twins.

A photo of each victim was displayed on a poster in front of the audience, and a table with each name was surrounded by candles.

After some music played, community members and officials spoke, including a surprise appearance from Governor Bill Lee.

Residents say it’s hard to believe an entire year has passed.

“I mean it’s always going to be fresh in our minds and our hearts, and most of us here have heavy hearts, but you know we just have a great town,” said Bonnie Spears Suits, whose father Wayne Spears died in the flood. He was a longtime foreman at Loretta Lynn's Ranch.

Tammy Elliott's brother, Scott Kilburn, died trying to save others in the flood. “But it’s still sad," said Elliott. "It’ll always be sad because everywhere you look there’s a piece of it, whether it be a picture or a car or a house or a person. It’s just everywhere.”

With a candle in hand, those in attendance listened as the names of each victim were read aloud. Like the small sea of light, their memory shines through a dark chapter in Waverly’s history.