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March 2020 deadly tornadoes continue to affect survivors one year later

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Posted at 5:03 PM, Mar 02, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-02 22:18:53-05

LEBANON, Tenn. (WTVF) — March 3 is the anniversary of when a series of tornadoes killed 25 people in Middle Tennessee and ripped apart homes.

A year later, that day continues to affect survivors.

Heather Hutcheson was alerted that a tornado was coming towards her Lebanon home through our Storm Shield app.

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It gave her enough time to wake up her husband and hunker down in their hallway as they braced themselves for impact.

"It was the scariest thing I’ve been through my entire life I didn’t know if we were going to make it," Hutcheson said.

Hutcheson says the tornado lasted about 28 seconds but it felt like a lifetime for her.

The tornado ripped off their roof and lifted their house off its foundation.

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Their Stonehenge Drive neighborhood was unrecognizable.

"There was debris everywhere," Hutcheson said.

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A year later, Hutcheson says the road to recovery has been filled with hardships. She and her family had to stay at hotels and short-term rentals as they battled with insurance and mortgage companies for money.

"I think what people think when they see something on the news is it happens and then it’s over and they go oh it’ll be fine," Hutcheson said. "People don’t understand I have a whole shoebox of important papers on the damage, I fight with insurance companies, mortgage company, hotels, rentals... it’s not over even though I'm back in the house and I am grateful but I wouldn’t wish this on my enemy."

Hutcheson said she continues to go to therapy for her trauma. She and her pets are also on prescribed medication.

The one silver lining is after nearly a year of being displaced, she finally was able to move back home last month. She knows not everyone is as lucky.

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