The following is excerpted from an article in today’s Lancaster (PA) New Era, featuring the two young women from the Grace Brethren Church of Lititz, PA (Scott Distler, pastor) who survived the tornadoes which earlier this week hit their school, Union University in Jackson, Tennessee. To read the entire article, click on http://articles.lancasteronline.com/local/4/216301
When the wind howled louder than the tornado sirens, Melissa Leisey knew it was time to take cover.
The Lititz native ran into her dormitory at Union University in Jackson, Tenn., and packed into a first floor bathroom with five other women, waiting for the storm to pass.
She sat on the toilet, praying and holding hands with Laura Spotts, her roommate and fellow Lancaster County native, who crouched on the edge of the sink.
For a moment everything went silent.
Then the pressure dropped so drastically that Spotts felt a heavy weight push her down from the sink. The moment she jumped to the floor, ceiling tiles rained on the six students, who covered their heads with a blanket.
In just 35 seconds the tornado that roared through the university campus around 7 p.m. Tuesday demolished nearly half of its buildings, tore down concrete walls, swirled cars into the sky and trapped two dozen students in the rubble.
“It felt like a really long 35 seconds,” Leisey said this morning from the home of another roommate’s grandparents 30 miles outside of Jackson, where she and Spotts are staying.
When the shaking stopped, Spotts opened the bathroom door and surveyed the damage.
“The furniture was all over the room,” she recalled today. “Windows were blown out. Blinds were all mangled like someone just flew through them.”
The damage Tuesday to Union University, a Baptist college of 3,200 students, was caused by one of a series of devastating storms that killed more than 50 people across the South.