Southern Miss, Westminster Church almost fully recovered from 2013 tornado

Southern Miss, Westminster Church almost fully recovered from 2013 tornado

HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - It was a sunny day Tuesday in South Mississippi, but exactly two years ago, it was anything but sunny, as the Pine Belt was hit by a devastating EF-4 tornado. The Feb. 10, 2013 storm damaged or destroyed hundreds of homes and injured dozens of people.

No one was killed.

The twister also ripped across the south end of the University of Southern Mississippi campus and caused major damage to nearby Westminster Presbyterian Church.

Today, Southern Miss is almost fully recovered and renovations are nearly complete at the church.

"We've worked hard to make lemonade out of lemons, so to speak, and I think that's part of the culture of the people of Hattiesburg," said Chris Crenshaw, associate vice-president for facilities, planning and management at USM. "We've continued to fight the good fight and rebuild and come back better than we were before the storm," he said.

More than 3,000 donors contributed $2 million to help USM in its recovery efforts.

The congregation of Westminster Presbyterian Church has spent $4.5 million dollars renovating their historic church. They've also built a new fellowship hall.

And last Sunday, they also hosted a re-dedication ceremony.

"It means so much that so many people pulled together and supported us, and it's truly a victory lap for the entire community of Hattiesburg and really, for Mississippi," said Steve Ramp, pastor of Westminster Presbyterian Church.

For most of the last two years, the congregation of that church met at nearby Parkway Heights Methodist Church.