A year later, Bradley tornado victims still need volunteers - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

After the Storm: One Year Later

A year later, Bradley tornado victims still need volunteers to help

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BRADLEY COUNTY, TN (WRCB) -- A year ago today, the sun came up in the Tennessee Valley revealing massive destruction caused by several tornadoes. Neighbors joined together to rebuild; but even now, there are still plenty of victims who need help.

Saturday, around 300 people memorialized the anniversary by helping to get families still struggling, back on their feet. The "Day of Service" brought together the agencies who've been helping all year and those pitching in for the first time.

Nikki Whitaker hugs a group of teen volunteers with tears in her eyes. "Really, really moving to watch," the tornado victim said.

"People need help and it's a good feeling when you help them and see the smile on their face," teen volunteers Anthony Flemister, Jared Andrews, Joshua Russell and Brooke Ice said.

They say they didn't realize people still need help cleaning up. They're removing what's left of five large trees that crashed into Nikki's home and car.

"Every day going out there looking at that was just a reminder of what had happened," Whitaker said.

She rents, but says her landlord hasn't started on repairs, so she reached out to Connie Wright, who's heading up the volunteer efforts.

"Volunteers are all around Bradley County working on 15 maybe 20 sites. We're really excited about that, but we have how many we could do though? About 100," Connie Wright and April Lynn said.

That list doesn't stop at April 27th tornado victims. There's people like Henry Watson whose home was destroyed in the most recent round on March 2nd.

"I didn't have enough insurance to build it back," tornado victim Henry Watson said. At 88, he says there's no way he could pick up the pieces on his own.

"They could've been going somewhere having a good time, but come out here, bunch of trash, throwing it away. You can't imagine," Watson said.

Bob Headrick was in the same situation last April. He's since rebuilt, so now he's helping Henry, a stranger.  "Two or three crews came out to help me, so I thought I'd help somebody else," the volunteer said.

It's that willingness to help a neighbor that we keep seeing. If you'd like to lend a hand to a Bradley County tornado victim, it's OK if you missed the "Day of Service." Crews are going out seven days a week. To sign up to volunteer, call (423) 599-0757.

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