The 4-year-old daughter of a youth minister is among the victims of tornadoes that tore through Tennessee just after midnight on Tuesday.
According to The Christian Chronicle, a Church of Christ news publication, it was confirmed Tuesday that Hattie Collins, the daughter of Matt Collins, who is the youth pastor at Collegeside Church of Christ, lost her life in the storm that struck Nashville and surrounding areas.
The young girl “passed from this world today into the loving arms of Jesus. Please continue to keep this family and all of the others affected by this tragedy in your prayers,” the Cookeville, Tennessee, church said on its website in response to the tragedy.
GoFundMe crowdfunding pages have been set up, one for the Collins family and another for other members in the community who need to rebuild. As of Saturday afternoon, over $137,600 has been raised for the Collins family and over $85,300 for the community.
Matt, Macy and their infant daughter, Lainey, were all inside their home and sustained severe injuries from debris. The storm destroyed their home and the family was later transported to a nearby hospital for treatment.
“While the family is in stable condition, the injuries sustained were severe, and recovery will take time,” their GoFundMe page notes. A Thursday update added that the family is indeed recovering and “making improvements.”
Residents impacted by the tornadoes described their community as looking like a “war zone.”
The Christian Chronicle noted that a mere days before the tornadoes devastated their community, the opening song at the Sunday service was “Raise a Hallelujah” by Jonathan David and Melissa Helser of Bethel Music.
Some of the lyrics in that song are: “I’m gonna sing in the middle of the storm, Louder and louder, you’re gonna hear my praises roar. Up from the ashes, hope will arise; death is defeated, the King is alive.”
President Trump visited the ravaged state on Friday, landing in Nashville and took a helicopter to Cookeville, in Putnam County, which bore the brunt of the storms and has tabulated 18 deaths, reports say. Thus far, the storms have claimed the lives of 24 people.
“You just see the trees are just laying down, houses gone, and all you see is concrete foundations,” said Cookeville Mayor Ricky Shelton.
“Our road crews were having to take heavy equipment to bulldoze our way through these streets, because they were covered in trees and power lines and poles.”
Trump opened up federal funds for the counties most afflicted by declaring a disaster in the state.
“It’s been a painful, tragic week for our state,” said Gov. Bill Lee during a joint news conference with the president, “but Tennesseans are hopeful.”