Mt. Juliet community sees progress on anniversary of deadly tornado

Three people were killed in the city
Mount Juliet Clocktower in Blue.jpg
Posted at 3:51 AM, Mar 03, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-03 08:52:54-05

MT. JULIET, Tenn. (WTVF) — Thursday marks two years since deadly tornadoes tore through Middle Tennessee, destroying homes and changing lives.

Three of the 25 people killed lived in Mount Juliet. The anniversary is a heavy day for the community, now a part of its history.

City officials will continue to honor and remember those they lost and also how far they've come in these two years.

The city is planning to lay a wreath around 12 p.m. in front of the blue truck known to all the locals on N. Mt. Juliet Road. The current truck replaced a previous one destroyed in the deadly March tornado.

Similar to last year, the Town Center Clock Tower at the intersection of Mt. Juliet Road and Division Street will also be lit in remembrance of the day.

This city lost not only dozens of homes and businesses, but three lives.

Donna and James Eaton were found side-by-side on their mattress after the tornado. They had been married for 58 years. Brandy Barker died while working a shift as a security guard.

Several schools were also either damaged or destroyed. Stoner Creek Elementary School saw extensive damage that day, everything except the gym was leveled by the tornado.

Walls finally started coming up in February, which provided a lot of hope for this community that progress is being made.

The pandemic along with insurance delays and weather also extended the rebuilding process. If all construction remains on schedule, the new bigger and better Stoner Creek Elementary will open up in September.

The $30 million project will not only restore the building, but it'll also be an expansion, now able to hold up to 1,000 students. The gym, the only part of the building to last through the storm, is also getting renovated.

Principal Amanda Smith is excited about the progress and said there's a lot to look forward to. She hopes the bad memories of the storm will fade away the second the new school opens.

West Wilson Middle School was also hit by the tornado. Designs for the new complex are expected to be approved by the school board this month.