Living Word Church Pastor Larry Cockerham said Wednesday it is important to remember that day and “mourn our losses” as a community on the first anniversary at 7 p.m., in the Conn Center at Lee University.
There should be adequate parking since there are no scheduled events at the theological seminary or North Cleveland Church of God.
The two primary purposes of Recovery 2012 are as a memorial for the nine who lost their lives and a chance to empathize with those who lost their homes. It is also meant to be a time for remembering all of the professional and volunteer workers who served others.
“The tornadoes profoundly affected all of us and we want to remember and mourn our losses,” he said after a planning session to put the finishing touches to the 90-minute program. “It’s also important for us to remember — to grieve with those who are still grieving and rejoice with those who are rejoicing.”
Cockerham said it will be a time of remembering those who served, those who gave.
“There was such an outpouring of compassion to serve other people’s needs — more than I’ve ever seen in my experience. First responders, utility workers, 911 call center dispatchers — everyone, I believe went far beyond their job descriptions.”
Cleveland Mayor Tom Rowland said it is only natural to think of police officers, firefighters and emergency medical technicians as first responders, but emergency dispatchers are also an integral part of the first response team.
“It was very frustrating for them to have so many calls they couldn’t immediately answer pleas for help — because they had too many calls coming in at one time,” the mayor said.
Then there were the untold thousands of volunteers and churches who came together.
“I’ve never seen churches come together like they did,” Cockerham said. “In remembering those who served, it will be a time for celebration because people who gave so much and served so much deserve to be celebrated.
“I think the whole community should celebrate together the unity we’ve had, the compassion we’ve experienced, the love that has been shown and the extraordinary giving.”
God protected Cleveland and Bradley County from the tumultuous wind, rain and hail, he said. It could have been much worse as the people of Tuscaloosa, Ala., and Ringgold, Ga., know. Only God knows why and why not, “but we believe God’s hand was there to help us, so we want to give thanks to God for his blessing, for his protection and for all the people who served during that time.”
Recovery 2012 is sponsored by Cleveland Net, a group of pastors, government officials, business persons and professionals in Cleveland and surrounding areas.
There will be an opportunity to give to people who are still suffering and people who are still in recovery by donating to the Long-Term Recovery Organization to help with needs that still exist.
“This is not just about April 27, but it is also about the most recent storm on March 2. There are still needs that are still there,” he said.