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Putnam Hosts Dedication Of Hope Park For Tornado Survivors

/ The Upper Cumberland's News Leader
Putnam Hosts Dedication Of Hope Park For Tornado Survivors

Putnam County dedicated the completion of Hope Park Sunday to the neighborhood and donors that made the project possible.

Mayor Randy Porter said the park brings peace to a community that experienced great loss from the March tornado two years ago.

“In talking with you with the survivors in the surrounding neighborhoods, the one thing that soon became apparent was that you did not want a memorial here that would remind you everyday of the lose and devastation that we sustained,” Porter said. “Instead, you wanted a place of peace and content where you could bring your children to to make great memories. A place that gives hope for a better day and time in our lives. Thus, came this place.”

Tony and Donna Barnett are one of the three families that sold their land to the county for the building of the park on North McBroom Chapel Road. Donna Barnett said the dedication was a day of closure after the family’s home was destroyed in the storm.

“It’s hard to come back out here still, but when I see what they’ve done, this gave me such a peace in my heart because to know there will be laughter of children and a place that we can even come out if we want to and reflect on our memories we had here,” Barnett said.

Erin, Josh and Sawyer Kimberlin were a young family that also lived where the park was built. Porter said the pavilion on the property was named Sunday after the family of three that died during the storm.

“Automation Tool Company in honor of the Kimberlin family, one of ATC’s employees who lived on this property, Josh, his wife Erin and his son Sawyer all lost their lives on this piece of property that day of the devastating tornado,” Porter said. “So today (Sunday) we are going to name in their honor and thanks to Automation Tool Company, the Kimberlin Pavilion.”

The Asantes were the other family that sold their property for the park at the corner of Hensley Drive. The green space includes 19 Dogwood trees representing the lives lost from the storm and a playground. Tony Barnett said seeing the park completed brings mixed emotions.

“For the community, the mayor and everybody that just gave, it means a lot to us,” Barnett said. “The Kimberlins were our neighbors. Our babies we always called them, and it’s emotional. They didn’t have to do this and to plant trees in their honor and to hear kids once again because this was a devastated place, it just means a lot.”

Porter gave thanks Sunday to all the donors, community members and county employees that donated their time to make the park possible. The dedication ended with a prayer over the park lead by River Community Church Pastor Steve Tiebout.

“You have given us this beautiful piece of property in order for kids to laugh and play and joy to be experienced,” Tiebout said. “Lord, that’s just like you. You take what Satan means for evil, and you use it for good. You turn the hurt and pain to laughter to joy, and we pray that you will do that here in this location.”


The post Putnam Hosts Dedication Of Hope Park For Tornado Survivors appeared first on News Talk 94.1/AM 1600.