Editor’s Note: This is a special republication of our 10-year anniversary edition of the 1999 tornado titled “Celebrating Restoration.”
A personal account by Ret. Lieutenant Loris Ellsworth.
It doesn’t seem like it has been ten years since that morning. At that time I was the Operations Supervisor Lieutenant with the Austin Peay Campus Police. I was off duty and when I was notified by the on-duty sergeant, Sgt. Mackin, that the university had sustained damage from a tornado.
I responded, as did other off duty officers, to the campus and assisted with evacuating the residence halls and securing the campus. The university had a report of only one injury.
That incident occurred when we were evacuating the students from the Sevier/Blount area.
No words can fully describe what the campus looked like; there is no way to explain the damage we witnessed. A great amount of credit should go to Student Affairs, which was under Dr. Jennifer Menningal.
The administration did an outstanding job getting housing for students and for the continuation of classes within the week.
Campus Police received assistance from the Tennessee Wildlife Resource Agency in securing the campus. The campus came together to assist in the clean up which followed.