5:52 AM PDT, August 28, 2021
William Brown, the manager of Humphreys County Funeral Home, said a man walked into his business on Thursday and offered to foot the bill for all nine burials and services his staff were arranging.
“Well, what he wanted was to be anonymous and that was it. And, I said, ‘Yes, sir. We’ll do that,'” Brown told Fox News on Friday. The good Samaritan, who wasn’t from the ransacked county in central Tennessee, had visited every other mortuary in the region and made the same selfless offer, Brown said.
The historic flooding, which tripled forecasted amounts and washed away the state record for one-day rainfall, claimed the lives of young and old alike, in ages ranging from 91 to seven months.
Matthew Rigney and Danielle Hall awoke Monday to water flooding their apartment. The parents of four scrambled to grab their children as the fetid liquid grew ever higher. Hall climbed out a window to go for help, but was knocked down by the raging tide. She managed to grab hold of a tree.
In a back bedroom, Rigney became a human life raft for their kids, holding 7-month-old twins Ryan and Rileighana in his arms, with 19-month-old Brayla clinging to his hip and 5-year-old Maleah wrapped around his neck. Then Rigney, too, was toppled by the current and ended up trapped under a bed with his children.
In that moment, the twins were ripped from his arms. “I never seen the twins resurface,” the distraught father told Inside Edition.
The babies’ bodies were discovered hours later after waters receded. With the help of a neighbor, Rigney and his two eldest children climbed to the roof of their house.
“It doesn’t seem real that we lost our babies. It doesn’t seem real that we’re in a funeral home and we’re about to bury them,” the dad said.
A GoFundMe page established for the parents has raised more than $100,000.
Other donations have poured in from around the country, including the NFL’s Tennessee Titans, which donated $50,000 to a local high school football team after its stadium and field were wiped out.
“It brings tears to your eyes,” Brown said. “But, (we’ll) get through it because we’re a strong community. We love each other.”