Pastor helps flooded community even as own business is destroyed

Posted at 6:53 PM, Sep 02, 2021
and last updated 2021-09-02 19:54:29-04

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — The pastor of a McEwen church chose to focus on the members of his church even as his own long-time plant nursery and landscaping business was destroyed by flooding.

Chris Bohanon, the pastor of Zion Hill Church of God of Prophecy, took in several community members after flood waters destroyed homes nearby. Some of the members had direct family impacts due to the fatal flooding.

Bohanon did so even as his own business, Bohanon's Nursey and Landscaping, was heavily damaged.

"I knew I'd get to it when I could get to it. The main focus [was] we had two church family members who lost everything," said Bohanon.

The nursery was wiped out as heavy debris and gravel from a nearby train track flowed across Highway 70 East. It crushed the greenhouses and pummeled the metal doors of a warehouse where much of the business's equipment was kept.

"I couldn't come this way because the entire railroad had blew out. Gravel bar was about three foot high in the road all the way down through here," said Bohanon.

The damage was so bad, there were no visible plants to be seen, Thursday, eight days after the flooding.

Bohanon said he hasn't spent much time at the business due to the responsibility he feels towards his congregation and community.

"This has just been secondary for right now," he said. "Don't know if we're going to rebuild right now. There's a high probability we won't. As far as the nursery."

Bohanon said this could mean he focuses more on his work as a pastor. Though, he'll likely still try to landscape when he can and his wife, Melissa, will likely miss caring for the plants.

"She came down here every day, took care of the shrubs and plants," he said. "And, believe it or not, even through the COVID issues, the last year and a half were probably some of the best years we've ever had down here."

A group of friends and family will be at the business Friday morning to salvage what they can.