Anonymous donor, 1,000 volunteers bring hope to Waverly community one week after catastrophic flooding

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WAVERLY, Tenn. (WKRN) – It’s now been one week since more than 17 inches of rain overwhelmed Humphreys County, claiming the lives of 20 and devastating many more lives.

Despite being the worst, most deadly disaster to ever hit Waverly, community members say the floods have brought out the best in their community.  

One act of kindness was an anonymous donor who offered to cover the funeral costs for all flood victims. Luff-Bowen Funeral Home was one of the recipients of that donation. Funeral Director Lindsey Barker said they already had some donations to help with funeral costs, however, the man insisted on still covering the costs.  

“We assured these families, that whatever donations came in, if there was a balance, they were not going to [owe] anything, and the anonymous donor, he knew that as well and he didn’t care and he wanted to make sure it was paid in full,” Barker said. “Families are so forever grateful and appreciative of that.” 

Of the 20 casualties caused by the flooding, Luff-Bowen Funeral Home is in charge of six of the funerals. Barker said families were overwhelmed and broke down when they learned of the anonymous donor.  

“It’s love; it’s love here and from our neighbors,” Barker said. “He actually maybe lived out of town at one time but he is actually a Waverly local now, he lives here, and that’s just who we are. We are family and he took care of them.” 

Like those working to bring closure to loved ones, others have been working around the clock to restore what has been lost. Compassion Church Waverly estimated around 1,000 people have shown up to volunteer.  

“Numerous people I’ve seen just say ‘hey I’m sleeping in the church and I’m getting back up in the morning and I’m coming back to work.’ So that’s huge. So whenever you see a lot of things going on in this world, we also see a lot of good right now,” said Carson Plant, disaster relief project manager.  

So far, the church has helped remove sheetrock and flooring from roughly 50 homes and they plan to do the same in about 50 others. 

“Not only they may not have lost someone, but they’ve lost everything in their home… and they’re still hanging on and they’re still saying God’s still good; that’s how you keep going on,” Plant said.  

For those who have seen the hardest part of the tragedy and the lives lost, the message they hope to spread is one of encouragement. 

Even after the burial is complete, the journey’s not over that day,” Barker said. “We love them and they are our family.” 

Compassion Church said Tennessee Highway Patrol troopers also donated $10,000 to their relief efforts. Right now, the church is in need of tote bags and anyone who can offer up help with construction or construction materials.  

“We had some strong waters come through and it destroyed a lot of things, but we are a town that will rebuild and that we’re a town that will get over this and we’re going to be better for it,” Plant said. 

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