On April 27, 2011, many of us in Alabama watched the news as an F-5 tornado tore through Tuscaloosa. The video was unbelievable and the pictures of the aftermath were unreal. Shortly after the storm, we saw our friend Sean Rivers post a song he wrote in memory of his friend, Loryn Brown, who lost her life in the storm.
After listening to the song, we knew we wanted collaborate with Sean and make a music video for My Mind On Tuscaloosa with the intent to help raise awareness for the huge needs of the area.
Matt sent Sean a message that night about doing a video. Little did we know, the next morning Sean woke up thinking about us and that we should shoot a video with him. We know that God laid this song on Sean’s heart and brought us together to create this video.
Sunday we headed to Tuscaloosa to shoot the video. We have not been to Tuscaloosa since the storms. Seeing the destruction was almost unbearable. We had seen photographs and video, but seeing the magnitude of the destruction was unimaginable.
Sean wrote this song in memory of his friend Loryn Brown. Loryn and two others lost their life in her home that day. We began the shoot across from her house, overlooking the city. After shooting the performance pieces with Sean, Loryn’s friends and family met us at the remains of her house.
Loryn’s mother, Ashley, was kind enough to share her story with us and tell us about Loryn. Ashley showed us things of Loryn’s they had found in the rubble and the stories behind the items. She also shared the memory of that day with us. Ashley, her husband and Loryn’s siblings are amazing!
We also had the privilege of meeting many of Loryn’s friends. We cherish hearing about her and getting to know her through her friends and family. She left a mark on so many people’s lives.
After shooting, Loryn’s friends and family and a few other volunteers headed to help out at David and Shelley’s food booth. Sean had met David and Shelley the day before. They are from Mobile and have been coming to Tuscaloosa for the past four weekends to hand out free food and prayer to the needy and displaced.
Next, we headed to Holt to try and help out a family who lost everything and is rebuilding their home with their 5, 8, and 11 year old children. However, we were unable to find their home because nothing is recognizable, even though Sean had been there the day before.
Our last shot of the day was at Bryant-Denny Stadium. It was a great way to end the day. It is a symbol for Tuscaloosa and bright side in such a dark time.
Thank you to Sean Rivers, Loryn Brown’s family and friends and everyone who was a part of making this video happen so quickly. We are so blessed and humbled to have been a part of this project. We have never worked on something so emotionally challenging.
Take a few moments and lift up those affected by the April 27th tornados and Joplin, MO in prayer.
God Bless You All!
- Matt & Ashley