Waverly community holds candlelight vigil in remembrance of devastating floods one year later

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WAVERLY, Tenn. (WSMV) – Sunday marks one year since devastating floods hit the town of Waverly.

Several homes were destroyed and lives were lost, but those lives were honored on Saturday night. WSMV spoke with community members and leaders during a candlelight vigil held at the county and city courthouse.

There, dozens of people gathered not only to reflect on the devastation they faced a year ago, but also to never forget the ones they lost.

“It’s a sad day…it’s hard to explain,” said Waverly resident Pinky Wheatley. “It was devastating, it was a day you will never forget. Don’t forget that day.

On August 21, 2021, Wheatley and dozens of others saw floodwaters invade their town.

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

Over 20 lives were lost in the Waverly floods. City leaders were determined to honor and remember them a year later with a candlelight 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 won’t forget,” Sheriff Davis said.

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

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

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

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

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

“People who were strong and people who were committed to each other and I watched neighbors and friends from across the state, some from across the country come together and come down to this town,” said said Lee.

Event organizers said they are not just stopping on Saturday, another event will take place on Sunday to reflect on how far we have come.

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