Volunteers lending hands after Calhoun tornado - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Volunteers lending hands after Calhoun tornado

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CALHOUN, GA. (WRCB) -- A little rain Thursday didn't stop volunteers with Samaritan's Purse from helping Calhoun residents clean up after last week's EF-3 tornado.

The non-profit group, based in North Carolina, sends crews from near and far to assist after natural disasters.

"Clean up the debris that's around the houses. The trees, if they need to come down, we have people with saw and they'll cut them down and we drag them out to the road," explains Dee Riegel.

She feels a personal desire to help others, after her Atlanta neighborhood suffered severe flood damage in 2009.

"Some of the homes were covered and pasture lands would look like lakes," recalls Riegel.

Samaritan's Purse was there to help her community, motivating Riegel to pay it back whenever possible.

"I've been blessed with them ever since, by going out and helping other people and it's a total blessing," says Riegel.

The efforts of her and her fellow volunteers, she notices, bringing smiles to the faces of those on the road to recovery. This couldn't be more true for Sharon Jackson.

"I was already working and I'm like, oh boy! Help!" exclaims Jackson.

The volunteers cut trees away which damaged Jackson's fence and cleared others which fell in her yards. She's grateful for the extra manpower.

"[They did] in two days what it would have taken our family probably two months to do," says Jackson.

She adds insurance doesn't cover all debris removal costs, so the organization's free services relieve a tremendous burden.

Riegel says the results of volunteering can only be fully understood by getting involved.

"Words can't really describe it. Just come out and see for yourself," says Riegel.

Samaritan's Purse operates a fleet of five 53-foot-long tractor trailers carrying equipment. The cabs of the trucks contain command centers for communications. The organization has been helping disaster victims in the U.S. since the early 1980s.

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