GATLINBURG - 2016 was a tough year for Ernest Ogle. First his wife of 46 years passed away, then November's deadly wildfires in Sevier County destroyed his home.
"When I lost my wife, I thought I'd lost the whole world. Then five weeks or so later, I lost my home. I knew God had turned his back on me," Ogle said.
But on Friday, the day before his 75th birthday, Ogle says it's the best day of his life.
Appalachia Service Project, Mountain Tough Recovery Team and a slew of other organizations and volunteers rebuilt Ernest Ogle's Gatlinburg home and finished in time to dedicate it before his birthday.
"When I saw all this going on, people coming out wanting to help with work, money, whatever, it built my faith back up tremendously," Ogle said. "Without the Lord, I'd never gotten through it."
Ogle's home is the second home Appalachia Service Project has completed. The organization has committed to rebuilding 25 homes for people with low income.
Ogle's home was furnished with donated bed set, couch and even paintings for the walls.
"I didn't expect all the furniture and everything," Ogle said. "I knew I was getting a stove and a refrigerator, but the rest of it is a surprise birthday gift."
Ogle's home still needs the electrical lines to be hooked up, but he'll be able to move in early next week.
Appalachia Service Project and Mountain Tough are still working on dozens of other projects. If you're interesting in volunteering or helping in other ways, you can learn more HERE.
Several Tennessee and Georgia politicians have released statements about the government shutdown.
900 Whitehall Road
Chattanooga, TN 37405
WRCB Jobs EEO | FCC Public Files