Ringgold: businesses rely on grit, neighbors and faith to heal - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

After The Storm: One Year Later

Ringgold: businesses rely on grit, neighbors and faith to heal tornado scars

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(WRCB) - Tornadoes have no respect for state lines or boundaries; particularly EF-4s.

A year later, many scars are still visible off of the I-75 off-ramp in Ringgold. But the healing is well underway.

"You look at it, and everything you work to build your whole life, with your father, is gone," Danny Jackson says.

The winds would shred Walter Jackson Chevrolet, April 27, 2011. Hundreds of thousands of dollars' worth of new cars and trucks, flipped, dropped, and dented.

But Jackson decided to make lemonade, after the insurance adjuster finished totaling the losses.

"Everything we could discount off these cars and trucks, we did," Jackson says. "Sold ‘em, 'as is.' They were gone in weeks."

These days, Jackson Chevrolet looks like the newest car lot on the block.

"It almost is," Jackson says. We had to rebuild the showroom."

His insurance, and General Motors, paid for it. But Jackson has others to thank for restoring his, and his employees' livelihoods.

"I just could not believe people came in and volunteered their time," he says. "People just started showing up with dump trucks, they had back-hoes coming in!"

Judy Greco could say the same of her own employer, Cochran's Furniture.

"I just knew they were a strong family, and I know we could get back, we could rebuild," Greco says.

A looped video plays on a flat screen in the store's showroom to remind customers what 200-miles-per-hour winds did to a two-generation family business, and to a Catoosa County institution.

"We lost a lot of it," Greco says. "The warehouse was completely full of furniture, bedding and appliances. And the warehouse was gone."

Rebuilding has come with pain. And prayers.

"They (Cochran family members) were working from early morning, until late at night, probably until two in the morning," Greco says.

For six months.

They needed no urging. Neighbors had lost almost everything. They needed furnishings. In that sense, business has taken care of itself.

"It's made us stronger," Greco says. "And with our faith in everything, we've just relied on God to get us through this. And He's helped us."

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