Marshburn says he and his wife have talked 15 survivors out of suicide and helped save several marriages. Unbeknownst to the couple, their own marriage was a cause for celebration at the conference. A surprise renewal-of-vows ceremony, timed to the Marshburns' 40th anniversary, took place Saturday night, with the entire family of survivors in attendance and a robed judge officiating. * Everyone was asked to sing along with the boombox to the chorus of a Marshburn family favorite, Alabama's "Angels Among Us."
That song, about the divine hands that intercede on our behalf, poses a theological question—Why me?—that torments surprisingly few victims of this most freakish act of nature. The survivors I spoke with almost all told me the same thing: Their accidents were somehow part of a divine master plan. If so, what were we to make of the violent thunderstorms and dazzling lightning shows that lit up Pigeon Forge all three days of the conference? I asked LeDoux about this, and also about what he thought of the remarkable coincidence that Tennessee Electric had decided to host a conference on the same days in the same hotel as the lightning-strike survivors. He didn't think much of either oddity. In the scheme of things, he said, they just weren't that improbable.