It's been nearly one month since a car crashed into The Tomato Head and
Wildbirds Unlimited, both located in West Knoxville's "The Gallery" shopping
center, and killed one woman.
Wildbirds Unlimited's General Manager Kathy Getsey said, "The wall
opened up, the sky opened up, the ceiling opened up and everything just rained
Getsey still remembers the moment a Chrysler 300 slammed into the business.
"We had a customer who was looking at bluebird houses, which are
normally in this spot in the store," the she said.
Getsey pointed out a
hand print on the wall and continued, "This is her hand print on the wall
as she was being pushed into the wall."
Getsey said that customer survived, but Bledsoe County Middle School
Principal Deborah Thompson was killed in the crash.
As cleanup continues at Wildbirds Unlimited's original location, there was
standing room only at its temporary location several stores down in the same
shopping center. More than two dozen people showed up to hear world-class
birder Billie Cantwell's free lecture about bluebirds.
"Nature has its own rules. They don't give us a book on it so we just
have to try to do what we think is right," Cantwell said.
That same logic has been put into action by employees at Wildbirds Unlimited,
who believe having free programs for the public is a way to give back to the
community that has shown so much support to the business, especially over the
"I've never been hugged as much in my life as I've been hugged in the
last few weeks. We'll be back, we'll be better than ever, and we'll be giving
back as soon as we get back into the store," said Getsey.
There's no set timeline for the re-opening of Wildbirds Unlimited's original
location. Getsey said they're hoping to get it done as soon as possible.