Holiday decorations collected for tornado victims - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Holiday decorations collected for Bradley County tornado victims

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BRADLEY COUNTY, TN. (WRCB) – Many families are still struggling after the April tornadoes. Now, several local organization are finding new ways to help.

An ornament drive began the day before Thanksgiving with the hopes of bringing a sense of normalcy back to tornado victims. 

For the past seven months Diane Banks has been working hard to rebuild the home April's tornado took away.

"It was 100 percent gone," Banks says.  

With every stroke of her paintbrush on the wall she's one step closer to moving back home before the holidays.

However, she admits something will be missing this Christmas, mainly all of her holiday decorations.

"I couldn't salvage none of them," says Diane. "Things get lost that you don't get back. Yea, its emotional."  

"I knew how devastated they were having everything spread out over a field somewhere and having nothing left," says Bradley County Long Term Recovery (LTR) Director Jim Polier.

LTR is working with other Bradley County organizations to help tornado victims like Diane feel more at home by giving out holiday decorations and ornaments.

"Christmas is part of life here in the Tennessee Valley and so for them putting up a Christmas tree makes them feel like its going to be ok," Lisa Mantooth, a case manager says.  

Neighbors donated hundreds of ornaments and while it may not be the first thing on a list to replace, for people like Diane, decking the halls for the Holidays makes them feel normal again.

"Yes it does, it puts me at peace," says Diane.  

After months of living at her daughters house Diane says she can't wait to spend Christmas back at home and if nothing else, there will be a tree.

"Even if its just a small one, you know," Diane laughs.  

LTR, The United Way and the Salvation Army is taking ornament donations until Friday, Dec. 9.

You can drop off your donations at the United Way, The Salvation Army or the Cleveland Banner.

Volunteers will deliver the decorations next week.

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