Local vets still need help repairing flood damage
It's been two weeks since massive rainfall caused flash floods in the Marion County town of South Pittsburg. It damaged homes, cars, roads and businesses within in just a few hours. For many, the mess is still overwhelming.
The American Legion Post 62 on Elm Avenue was among the hardest hit, but until Channel 3's story aired last week showing the damage, the elderly veterans there hadn't received any outside help. They are physically unable to do it themselves.
Now we learn, volunteers are stepping in, but the delayed start has them scrambling to make progress.
Wednesday marks two weeks since floodwaters overtook the American Legion Post 62 with such force, it bent the metal door right off its frame. A week later, the bottom level was still covered in mud.
"We've got a lot of problems with it due to the age and due to the weather that brought mud down on us," Post Commander Monroe Powers said.
Wednesday VFW volunteers and Marion County inmates were pitching in.
Post Commander and World War II Veteran Monroe Powers says since his plea for help on Channel 3, he's received support from volunteer groups from Knoxville, to Nashville and in between.
"That there had been significant damage here at the American Legion, so I came down today to see if there's anything we can do to help," Team Rubicon volunteer organizer Dee Clancy said.
"[I want] to serve and give back to the folks that have given us everything," 18-year-old volunteer Nicholas Boucher said.
"Can't thank them enough, and we appreciate Channel 3," Powers said.
The local VFW says they're helping the best they can, but need some stronger bodies to step in.
"Only trouble is we don't have any young members to speak of. It's all older people," VFW Member Louis Fuqua said.
They're working to bring the nearly century old building back to working condition to serve their community. It's where many local vets hold special memories. For Louis Fuqua it's where a square dance in 1954 changed his life forever.
"Incidentally, I met my wife here," Fuqua said.
But, the delayed cleanup means they need the help fast while city crews are still offering free curbside debris removal. Past that, they say there's tens of thousands of dollars of damage that needs patching.
"We do need electricians; we do need carpenters; we need everything that can hold a hammer," Powers said.
The local Wal-Mart is also donating supplies to the American Legion. Anyone interested in putting in some elbow grease, is asked to call Powers at (423)504-5238, or stop by the building at 300 Elm Avenue in downtown South Pittsburg.