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East Nashville family of survivors looks back a year after tornadoes

Family creates music out of wreckage with help from a stranger
Posted at 11:20 PM, Mar 03, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-04 00:20:37-05

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — Like so many, the Cochran family lost nearly everything to last year's tornadoes- but thanks to a gift from a stranger, now the family of artists can create music from the wreckage.

“We brought them downstairs and about 90 seconds later the upstairs was completely destroyed. Our son’s bed was in shambles where he was sleeping just a minute and a half before that,” said Melanie Cochran, recounting the night of last year's tornadoes. “It was in a different room,” added her husband John.

A year ago, the family of four took shelter in their basement while a tornado ripped through their East Nashville home. When the storm passed, they emerged to find their house in pieces.

With the help of strangers in their community, the Cochrans boxed whatever was left and moved on to a new home. But Wednesday, yet another stranger surprised them with a gift.

Kevin Equitz collected wood debris from their old neighborhood. However, after learning the Cochrans’ story he decided to use that debris and create a one-of-a-kind guitar for them.

"It’s incredible that somebody would take the time to do something so meaningful for somebody that they’ve never met, and I know this is a lot of work, this isn’t like making a greeting card or something. This is a tremendous amount of work and time that he put into this,” said Melanie.

Equitz customized the guitar for left-handed performers knowing that both Melanie Cochran and her two young sons are lefties. Melanie said the gesture is just another example of East Nashville's "special community".