Apison stands united a year after devastating tornadoes - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

After The Storm: One Year Later

Apison stands united a year after devastating tornadoes

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HAMILTON COUNTY, TN (WRCB) - A year after the devastating tornadoes carved their way across the Tennessee Valley, one of the hardest hit areas is still working to move forward. Saturday, people in Apison came together to celebrate the community's progress. 

Hundreds of people from Apison and surrounding areas gathered together to thank all the volunteers and organizations that have helped get the Apison and Cherokee Valley community back on its feet.

Friday night, on the one year anniversary of the April 27th tornadoes, it was a time for Apison residents to reflect and honor the lives of those lost in the storms.

With Saturday, came a new day and a chance to look forward, with food, fun and fellowship.

"Today has been more of an uplifting day," says Bill Hullander.

Hullander is part of the Apison Cherokee Valley Committee. The group formed shortly after the devastation, working to help those in need.

Hullander's own farm was damaged in the storms. Now rebuilt, it serves as a gathering place to celebrate progress.

"We're kind of celebrating the people that's got their homes rebuilt, the people that have kind of got their lives back together, the people that their health was better than what it was," says Hullander.

"We were so blessed. We live right across the street from where four people lost their lives. And we were just really really blessed," says Darlene Powell.

Powell lives off Apison Pike. The destruction of that day is still etched in her mind.

"I've lived here all my life. And you could stand here and look around and it was just unbelievable. It's hard to describe," says Powell.

She and others are thankful for the free weather radios that were given away and the simple gesture of handing out free trees to help restore the scarred landscape.

"So much has been done. But there's still a lot that has to be done," says Linda Buckner.

Buckner is the Director of Development for the Samaritan Center.

She was spreading the word that help is still there for those who need it.

"They can fill out an application and then bring it back or send it in to a Samaritan Center, and the Apison Cherokee Valley Committee meets every week, and they'll evaluate it, and they'll offer some assistance if we can," says Buckner.

"It is just encouraging to know that there's still a lot of good people out there," says Hullander.

The committee plans on installing a memorial in the coming weeks. The eight foot tall stone monument will be put up near the 'Welcome to Apison' sign on East Brainerd Road. They also plan on building a small memorial park to help honor those who lost their lives.

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