Victims of Deadly Tornado Commemorated on 11th Anniversary

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MADISON COUNTY, Tenn. — Eleven years after a deadly tornado struck Madison County killing 11 people, Dr. J.A. Boles Missionary Baptist Church honors the victims of the storm. “It was in my spirit to get the gold balloon and with the white balloons to let them know that Jesus still cares,” Pastor Jerry Lee Howard said. Bernice Askew Stinson’s sister and 16 month old nephew were among those killed in Madison County May 4, 2003. Stinson remembers how 22-year-old Erica Askew saved the children she was babysitting that night. “She took those kids to safety and then went back for her own baby and at that time,” Stinson said. “That’s when the building fell in and the chimney killed her and her son.” The deadly twister in Jackson had winds up to 260 miles per hour, registering it as an F-4. On top of the 11 killed, 86 others were injured. “They are still hurt and so we need to commemorate along with them because when one hurt we all hurt,” Howard said. Erica Askew lived on the East side of the city, one of the hardest hit areas. Stinson lived in Memphis at the time. “So I just felt like that the community and the people around just kind of forgot,” Stinson said. “But then when I was Facebooked and asked to come and be apart of it I was just overwhelmed that people still remembered.” Stinson says the city commemorated her sister with a small monument at her former home in East Jackson.

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