Ringgold Taco Bell to hold reopening celebration - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

UPDATE: Ringgold Taco Bell to hold reopening celebration

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RINGGOLD, CATOOSA COUNTY, GA (WRCB) -- It's been just over two months since an EF4 tornado slammed Ringgold, shutting down many businesses along Alabama Highway.

Those businesses are working to reopen and Thursday one will re-open its doors for the first time since the tragedy.

"I'm expecting to be extremely busy," said General Manager April Juraszek.

Thursday will be a big day for this Taco Bell Restaurant and for the City of Ringgold itself.

The April tornado raked Alabama Highway leveling nearly all the businesses around Exit 348.  Assistant General Manager Terry Bennett was there. "Confusion. Horrific. I mean, you could use all the words to describe it," he explained.  But, it really doesn't begin to describe what we went through that night."

While many still sit in ruin, Taco Bell has risen from the wreckage, in just 9 weeks.

The general manager's accent tells you she is from Louisiana and she is no stranger to disaster.  "Coming from Katrina, I know exactly what this community is going through.  I find that this is going to be very helpful," Juraszek said.

As the landscaping was being finished, flowers planted, stone moved and familiar home-town touches going up inside. What was the mood of the staff?  "Excitement.  Excitement," Bennett said.  "The community needs it, It'll be great to se the response we're gonna get from the community and see the rebuilding taking place around here."

"We actually had a couple come in today and were like, '12 of us used to work here in high school.  We're coming back tomorrow night just to come for your opening,'" added Juraszek.

So this crew may work through the night, but they do so happily.  Thursday's ribbon cutting is a big psychological step on Ringgold's road to recovery and they wouldn't dare not be ready.

"We'll be here," said Juraszek.  "We're ready for Ringgold to come back."

"To have those doors open and watch all our regulars come back in is gonna put a smile on all our faces," said Bennett.

The mayor of Ringgold, Joe Barger, City Commissioner, and principal of Ringgold High School, Sharon Vaughn, will participate in the ribbon cutting ceremony at 9:45 am Thursday. They will be joined by emergency personnel who were critical to saving lives in the aftermath of the tornado.

Ms. Vaughn will be presented with a donation for $5,000 to assist in rebuilding the High School from Tacala LLC, the franchisee of the Ringgold Taco Bell.

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