Wichita native’s gymnastics gym destroyed by Tennessee tornado

Local

WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – A Wichita native is clinging to hope and support after losing her Hermitage, Tennessee business in last week’s tornadoes.

In just a few seconds, everything changed for Maggie Nelson and her family.

Nelson is a graduate of Kapaun Mt. Carmel Catholic School and moved to Nashville prior to starting her own gymnastics gym, Magnitude 10.0 Gymnastics.

Magnitude 10.0 Gymnastics after the tornado
(Courtesy: Maggie Nelson)

“We were bawling crying,” said Nelson. “I thank God that we were not in the building. We were just here four hours prior.”

Nelson and her husband rushed to the business after finding out about the damage.

Nelson’s daughter and her family had to be rescued from their home by first responders. Their house is now a total loss like the gym.

“We are lucky that we are alive,” said Nelson. “This is nothing compared to what others are going through.”

In the daylight, the damage is more heart-wrenching. Nelson said parts of the building were found across the street and debris fills the entire area.

Some of the gymnastics equipment is still missing. One mat that weighs more than the average person can lift was found 50 miles away.

“We’re still finding things across the street,” said Nelson.

The gym’s motto is, “strong like a bull,” which still rings true in the days after the tornado.

Gymnasts and parents help clean up
(Courtesy: Maggie Nelson)

Gymnasts and parents helped with the cleanup and some of Nelson’s family members in Wichita joined in to help, too.

“She’s grown this business from the ground up and then 15 years of hard work is wiped away in one second, one night,” said Reagan Thorpe, Nelson’s niece.

While Nelson said starting over won’t be easy, she has been able to find glimmers of hope in the photos she’s taken of the damage.

“We’re going to have to start demolishing what’s left,” said Nelson. “There’s nothing that is salvageable. Everything is ruined. But, we’re trying to make the best of it and think of this as a positive.”

With her gymnastics family and Wichita family behind her, those closest to Nelson said she’s fighting her way through this loss.

A crown found sitting on top of rubble after the tornado (Courtesy: Maggie Nelson)

“If there’s one person or a set of people who can make it through this devastation, it’s my family in Nashville and the people of Nashville,” said Thorpe.

Nelson said gymnasts have been able to train at other local facilities and they plan to find a warehouse to practice in while a new one is being built.

To find out how you can help Nelson and Magnitude 10.0 Gymnastics, click here.

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