NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) - At the heart of some of the most memorable damage in East Nashville is a story of heroism and healing we’re hearing for the first time. 
 
Fresh ink, and a fresh start.
 
“It's a healing process, definitely,” Billy Marchinkevich said, showing off the new tornado tattoo on his forearm. “I want to be able to look at this every day and just be thankful and grateful.”
 
Marcinkevich and five other employees were the only ones left at The Basement East on the early morning of March 3, just after Monday night's show wrapped up.
 
“We were just finishing up all our duties, closing up, and that's when the storm notifications started coming through.” 
 
Then, the most glaring notification of them all: “We saw the tornado, we saw the funnel cloud."
 
As an EF-3 tornado barreled toward them, marcinkevich ran into the alley to warn others in the area. “We recognized that we were one of the only basements in the immediate vicinity, so we wanted to take advantage of that and save as many people as possible, and just get as many people to shelter.”
 
Marcinkevich estimates 10 people total hunkered down in the basement of the venue as the tornado ripped apart the deck they were standing on minutes before. 
 
“It was like being in a vocal booth, where everything is sound proof,” he recalled. “There's no white noise or anything, and there's just this loud jet engine roar with no other sound... Once it was all said and done, we walked out, and just turned the corner and looked at the building and saw that it was just gone... In an instant everything had just changed.”
 
Six months later, there is more change. This time for the better - The Basement East is set to reopen in October. 
 
“I am ready to get back to doing the job that I love with the people I love, in the city that i love,” Marcinkevich said. “I survived that, and we all survived it.”

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