On Anniversary, "Bathtub Brothers" look back at 2011 Tornado - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

On Anniversary, "Bathtub Brothers" look back at 2011 Tornado

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We like to check in with this trio every now and then, just to see how they are doing. Their story is one you will definitely recall. Terrell Maffett, David Mercer, and Jason Clemons began April 27th, 2011 as friends, but after the storm they would be forever known as the "bathtub brothers."

"There is not a time goes by that something happens and I mention I was in the tornado," said Terrell Maffett, "it's inevitable I get the question, 'are you one of the bathtub brothers?'"

In a day of tragedy, theirs was a story of wonder and hope. One line from an interview with Channel 3 provided a bit of much-needed comic relief. "We got made fun of, a lot," David Mercer explained. "We worked together during that time, we don't anymore, we got made fun of a lot and I guess I have to take blame for that! But, at the same time, spur of the moment name and just got stuck."

When the tornado roared through Apison on April 27, 2011, they took shelter in a bathtub, linked arms, prayed, and took the ride of their lives. The home ended up 150 feet from its foundation; 8 of their neighbors were killed. "Driving by that really doesn't hurt, it just reminds me how lucky I am, said Jason Clemons, "how lucky each and everyone of us are, every day we are given."

Life moves on, but an experience like this forever changes those involved. "Every time it rains," said Maffett, "every time that wind gets to blowing a little too hard, every time I smell the air blowing with that same smell, the skies become a certain shade, I get a little nervous. And, usually, around two minutes later I get a text from one of these guys."

"Whenever the weather comes on and it says take cover don't stay in front of the TV," Mercer added. "Jump in the bathtub and take get ready for the ride."

"The biggest thing that you learned from experience like this is: cherish," Clemons surmised. "Cherish your family, cherish the time you have because (snapped his fingers) that's how quick it happens."

The site where the bathtub brothers rode out the tornado is a hay field, now. A barn on the block still stands though it is a bit crooked. It serves as a strong reminder of what the community went through four years ago today.

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