After the Storm: McMinn County cleans up from recent storms
By Nick Austin, Meteorologist / Reporter - bio | email
CHATTANOOGA (WRCB) -- Brandy Cameron's mom Sandra Gamble is lucky to be alive. Two weeks ago, an EF-2 tornado with 130 mph winds ripped through her Etowah, Tennessee neighborhood.
Gamble was on her way to take cover in the bathroom when it tore off the entire roof in seconds.
"A tree came through the door and knocked her into the bathroom. But she's alright," says Cameron.
Gamble's insurance company deemed the house a total loss. Eventually she and her husband will rebuild, but until then the community is helping.
"We've had several churches come out and help pick up debris and trees," explains Cameron.
The Salvation Army and the local Amish community are lending hands, too. It takes some of the load off the family's shoulders.
"They've been stressed out a lot," says Cameron, as she sighs.
Diane White of the Etowah Lions Club is one person delivering basic needs to the Gambles.
The club also gives supermarket gift cards to those without a home or power.
In addition, White is using the local restaurant she owns as a source of salvation. She swept right into action after volunteer firefighters provided contact information to reach storm victims.
"I tried to contact them and tell them we had something for them. I had them come to the restaurant and eat a hot meal because a lot of them didn't have power," says White.
She also delivered meals on foot to people who couldn't get to the restaurant, with hundreds donated so far.
White says giving back feels natural.
"When you go to a family and there's these six kids running up to you, that have no shoes on and they say, 'I remember you. Have you got food for us?'," says White while holding back tears. "And they sit down at this picnic table and just start eating like they haven't ate a meal in a long time. It's worth everything."
She also saw how the community came together to help her niece in Cleveland, Tennessee, who lost everything in last April's tornado outbreak.
She knows the importance of "paying it forward."
Cameron appreciates every ounce of effort.
"I would like to thank everyone who has helped us," says Cameron.
If you're interested in helping through the Etowah Lions Club, or if you're a storm victim who needs a meal, call or go to the Farmhouse Restaurant in Etowah and ask for Diane White.
The address is 1201 Ohio Avenue, phone number is (423) 263-3276.
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