Spirit family affected by JSU damage

Tornado damage in Jacksonville, AL

Erika Kooda | Spirit of Atlanta Media

On Monday, March 19, a series of tornadoes, some as powerful as EF3,  wrecked homes from Tennessee through Florida.  One area hit very hard is home to many Spirit of Atlanta staff, members, and alumni.  Jacksonville, Alabama and Jacksonville State University (JSU) have suffered major damage. Thankfully, nobody was seriously injured and there were no fatalities due to the storms.

Luckily, JSU was on spring break and most students were out of town. The campus remains closed and through April 9. After that, students are either able to take their current grades, receive an “incomplete” in the class, or finish their classes.

Staff members Daniel Allen and Nick Tucker were in Jacksonville that night and weathered the storm.

“It began getting bad around 8 o'clock with the wind incredibly violent and constant lightning and thunder,” Daniel describes. “A friend and I were looking at the storm from the door of my apartment when the city went pitch black. When that happened we closed the door and ran into an interior bathroom. We hid in the bathtub and had couch cushions around us and over our heads. I knew it was near when I felt the air pressure in my ears change and apartment start to shake. We stayed in the bathtub for about 5 minutes more and left to see the damage. All the while being worried that our couch-cushion precaution wouldn’t keep us safe if the roof collapsed. The storm was still going, but with flashlights, we were able to look out the door and see the bricks from an adjacent building scattered in the parking lot.”

Nick’s power came back on, but Daniel’s didn’t. At least, not right away. He’ll be able to return to his apartment (along with Josh Foust) soon.  After going through the storm first-hand and being one of the few to have their belongings untouched, Nick offered support to his friends and family in need. One of his friends was displaced and lost everything, some were left without power.  “When my friends are in need,” says Nick, “I want to make sure I can lend a helping hand in any way. Be kind, and help others - especially in situations like this.”

Current Spirit member Hailey Orbik was on break in Florida when she and her roommates lost their home.

One of the incredible aspects of the Spirit family is the willingness to help out whenever possible.  When flights were canceled last December after the Atlanta airport’s power outage, Atlanta-based members and alumni scrambled to be sure everyone who had come to town to audition for SOA had a place to spend the night and were not stranded alone.  And now our family at JSU needs us more than ever.  Some members and alumni lost everything, and have listed their own personal fundraisers to help recover.  We are happy to provide links to the fundraising efforts through this listing page.  We encourage our Spirit of Atlanta family to support those who need them the most.

This is a listing of those affiliated with Spirit of Atlanta who were affected in some way by this storm.

Daniel Allen, Drew Bradley, Chris Benedetti, Tyler Bennett, Ken Bodiford, Bailey Burks, Gabriel Colvert, Joseph Garmany, Josh Foust, Jakobe Henry, Morgan Herbert, Kevin Lunsford, Brandon Owens, Hailey Orbik, Brandon Proffitt, Susana Rivas, David Smith, Jared Triggs, Nick Tucker, Nick Walker.