Memorial honors April 27th tornado victims - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Memorial honors April 27th tornado victims

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APISON, TN (WRCB) -- Survivors from Apison and nearby Cherokee Valley Road in Catoosa County gathered to dedicate a memorial to those who lost their lives in the April 27, 2011 tornadoes.

Fifteen people in that area lost their lives that day, eight in Apison, seven in Cherokee Valley.

Family members say the new memorial will help them remember their loved ones and remind them of the tight community they live in.

"It's a beautiful monument. It's a place to come and remember," says Steve Hullander.

Community members of Apison and Cherokee Valley, along with family members whose loved ones were lost on April 27th, 2011, gathered to dedicate a memorial honoring the 15 people who died that day.

"I was remembering things that my sister and I used to do," says Hullander.

Hullander lost his sister, Mary Hullander Raper.

"I don't think that day will ever dim in my mind," he says.

Hullander says he is so thankful for the supportive community he lives in.

"It's amazing the response," says Hullander. "The first responders, the fire department, the police, the sheriff's department. Just neighbors."

"It brings up that night again. It's like you relive all over again, just minute by minute, everything that happened, because you don't ever forget it," says Jan Poe.

Poe lost four generations of her family.

"My mom, my sister, my only child and my nephew," says Poe.

She says seeing the names of her loved ones, Jo Ann Darnell, Brenda Prescott, Josh Poe and Adam Carroll, engraved on the memorial is tough.

"I appreciate what they've done and it's beautiful. But it is really hard," says Poe. 

But she is comforted knowing she will see them again.

"I miss them all more everyday. And I'll see them again, all of them, one day," says Poe.

In the meantime, the memorial serves as a place to reflect on who was lost and how tragedy can unite a community.

"I think it's a pretty important thing. It's something we should be proud of," says Hullander.

The Apison-Cherokee Valley Committee has worked over the past year and a half to raise money for the monument.

It cost around $25,000 and was made possible thanks to large donations from the Salvation Army and the Samaritan Center.

The memorial located at the corner of East Brainerd Road and London Lane in Apison.

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