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The Massive EF3 Tornado was Approaching! … and a Bluffton man was left “speechless’

Bluffton’s Clyde Wireman, while on a Disaster Relief Mission to Tennessee last month, heard a story that left him so astonished that he was literally speechless after hearing it. On December 10, 2023, a fast-moving weather system was bearing down on Tennessee. Forecasts were for severe weather, maybe even some tornadoes. As the day progressed, the weather got worse and worse. Concern grew exponentially. Then, suddenly, a spate of tornadoes broke out.

Tornado sirens were blaring throughout middle Tennessee, including in Clarksville. A mother, with three young children in that town, not only heard the sirens but started to hear an almost deafening train-like roar approaching. She hurriedly gathered the children and rushed them into the bathroom in the middle of the trailer. The mother positioned the children lying down in the bathtub, then she lay over the top of them with her arms outstretched.

It hit.

A large tree fell on the trailer, splitting it in two. The trailer’s siding metal contorted every which way, and virtually all the house belongings, beds, other furniture, and everything, for that matter, was sucked out of the home and scattered for miles.

It stopped.

The only thing left totally intact in the trailer? The bathroom. No one had been harmed. Although the rash of tornadoes that day in Tennessee had claimed six lives and sent another 100 people to the hospital.

Mr. Wireman, who is a member of Bluffton’s Ebenezer Church, said the family in the trailer were “strong Christians,” and had crosses mounted on walls throughout the trailer, including several in the bathroom. He said when he heard the story, “…I was moved to profound tears.”

Incidentally, as the mother and children gathered themselves, one of the children asked if his mother had seen “the man”? “Who?” The mother asked. “I saw a man lying over the top of you, mom—with his arms outstretched too.”

Mr. Wireman said he still can’t get through telling the story without crying, even now.

This neighborhood in Clarksville had been decimated. Houses were destroyed everywhere, many big trees uprooted… It had been an EF3 tornado that hit Clarksville, with 150 mph peak wind speeds. (There had been seven tornadoes that touched down in middle Tennessee that day. And the tornado in Clarksville had been the deadliest, killing three and injuring 62.)

As part of a Samaritan’s Purse Mission, 10 people from Ebenezer had gone to Clarksville to help with the cleanup, and this group helped rehab some of the trailer homes (new roof, new siding…) that were only partially damaged.

Besides this trip, Mr. Wireman has been on other service-work, mission trips to Alaska and Kentucky (multiple times) in the past two years. That’s how long Mr. Wireman has been retired as an over-the-road truck driver – who had logged a phenomenal 6 million miles over 40 years.

But even though he’s retired from trucking, he said he has no intention of ‘retiring’ from God’s employ. He said he has always had a “…heart for (God’s) service,” and will continue on with this until he physically can’t do it anymore.