Waverly community holds candle-lit vigil remembering devastating floods 1 year later

On Aug. 21, 2021, the community watched as flood waters took over their city.
August 21 marked one year since the devastating floods that hit the city of Waverly.
Published: Aug. 21, 2022 at 10:06 AM EDT
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WAVERLY, Tenn. (WSMV) - Sunday marks one year since the devastating floods that hit the city of Waverly.

Several homes were destroyed, and lives were lost, but those lives were honored on Saturday night. WSMV spoke to community members and leaders at a candle-lit vigil held at the County-City Courthouse.

There, dozens of people came together to not only reflect on the devastations they faced a year ago but also to never forget the ones they’ve lost.

“It’s a day of sadness…it’s hard to explain,” said Pinky Wheatley, a resident of Waverly. “It was devastating; it was a day you’ll never forget. You just don’t forget that day.”

On Aug. 21, 2021, Wheatley and dozens of others watched as flood waters took over their city.

“I saw people standing on the top of their roofs screaming for help, and there was just nothing I could do,” Wheatley explained.

More than 20 lives were lost during the Waverly floods. City leaders were determined to honor and remember them a year later with a candle-lit vigil.

“They deserve to be remembered they deserve to be honored in a way that we don’t forget and in a way that future generations don’t forget,” Sheriff Davis said.

David Byrd was one of the many who lost his house, but he said he gave thanks on Saturday.

“To be a part of this community and what we went through and the lives that we lost and how the people have come together and rebuild and the love that’s been shown,” Byrd said.

Wheatley added that the vigil is a time to spread love and comfort after the unthinkable.

“I need to be here and let them know that I’m here for them,” Wheatley said.

While they heal and rebuild, Governor Bill Lee said the city’s recovery has been an inspiration to the whole state.

“People that were strong and people that were committed to one another and I watched neighbors and friends from around the state, some from around the country come together and descend on this town,” Lee said.

Event organizers said they’re not just stopping Saturday, another event will be held on Sunday to reflect on how far they’ve come.