UPDATE: Volunteers needed to clean up from Sequatchie County tor - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

UPDATE: Volunteers needed to clean up from Sequatchie County tornado

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SEQUATCHIE COUNTY, TN (WRCB) -

UPDATE:  About 200 volunteers rallied together to clean up the remaining tornado damage in Sequatchie County on Saturday. 

Organizers mapped out at least four zones that needed attention along the tornado's path that stretched 14 miles long. 

"The goal has been literally to give them some pretty back in their area so when they go home everyday they don't see all the mayhem and destruction that exists, and they can literally start to build new and start fresh," said volunteer organizer, Melissa Mackey.

Among the volunteers were contractors with Loftis Underground, a construction company based out of Cookeville, TN, who helped cut and chip trees surrounding homes. 

The crews used several bucket trucks given to them by Bledsoe Telephone Cooperative, Inc. to cut tree limbs that were too high to reach. 

"They're donating their time and efforts for people they don't even know and they're not getting out of it except knowing that they fixed a problem for somebody," said Mackey. 

 A generous effort many residents like Donna Knight are grateful for. 

"We couldn't even drive into our house every evening...or walk through our yard without these huge trees and limbs hanging over us that we couldn't reach and just that was scary everyday," said Knight. "We have six grandchildren that...live in the city and when they come here we play out in the yard, in the field and to have this help today and where they can run and play again is gonna be such a blessing too."

It will be months before the community returns to normalcy, but volunteers say they vow to do whatever they can to see it through. 

"We're gonna get there. We're gonna get it done and we're gonna give these people back some comfort," said Mackey. 

Mackey said her and other organizers are coordinating more clean-up days in the future. 

For dates and times you can contact Melissa Mackey via email at tnmelmack@yahoo.com or text or call at 423-447-8275. 

Monetary donations can be made to DUMC-Storm Relief (Dunlap United Methodist Church).  All donations are tax deductible and receipts will be issued upon request. Checks may be mailed to:  1958 Main Street, Dunlap, TN  37327.  


PREVIOUS STORY: A call to action in Sequatchie County is hoping to rally enough volunteers for a community clean up. The EF-2 tornado last month destroyed homes and left behind several areas of destruction.

Volunteer organizer, Melissa Mackey, said they are also working to help residents with no insurance or not enough insurance to get back in their homes.

More than a dozen homes were destroyed along East Valley Road and Lewis Chapel road.

The Lamparter family returns almost daily to the site of their family home. They sift through debris, and plan on how they will rebuild.
    
The family was inside sleeping during the storm.

"Sounded like a bomb went off, all the windows blew out and the wind came in," said homeowner Jonathan Lamparter.

Jonathan, his wife, and two children managed to escape just before their house collapsed.

"Didn't realize it until the next day seeing how bad it was but it was a miracle we made it out of there," said 15-year-old Justin Lamparter.

There's more than a dozen other families in town who are sadly in similar situations.
    
The Dunlap community is now asking for volunteers to come together and help clean up. The first clean up day will focus on areas around East Valley Road. Additional clean up days will be scheduled for Lewis Chapel.  

On Saturday, December 31st, starting at 8 a.m. volunteers are asked to meet at New Hope Cumberland Presbyterian church. The clean up will focus on brush and downed trees surrounding damaged homes.

Mackey said they already have more than 200 people interested, many of them high school teams, clubs and church members.

It makes the Lamparter's emotional just thinking about so many people willing to help.

"This community has been unbelievable, from the time it happened until now, and it's really not surprising to hear the community wants to come together and help," Jonathan Lamparter said.

Mackey said the needs for the day are as follows:
a)      People 
b)      Chainsaws
c)       Equipment (e.g. dump trucks, log splitters, bobcats, grapplers, front loaders, etc.)
d)      Commercial grade heavy duty black trash bags
e)      Bottled water
f)       Food to feed the volunteers lunch
g)      Gloves
h)      Monetary donations are always appreciated 

Anyone who would like free firewood can also take some home after the clean up.

Volunteers are asked to sign up with Melissa Mackey via email at tnmelmack@yahoo.com or text or call at 423-447-8275. Lunch will be provided.

Monetary donations can be made to DUMC-Storm Relief (Dunlap United Methodist Church).  All donations are tax deductible and receipts will be issued upon request. Checks may be mailed to:  1958 Main Street, Dunlap, TN  37327.  

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