Just two days after the storms, relief, cleanup and recovery began when the Cleveland-Bradley Disaster Relief Facebook page was established by a group of local people, including one transplanted Californian, and bradleydisasterrelief.org was formed.
On Saturday, Pietown Productions will be in Cleveland and Bradley County taping a promotional spot for The Weather Channel and searching for local heroes.
Cleveland native Steve Watson will host the “limited-run” series. The promo will also feature Mike Bettes, an on-camera meteorologist at The Weather Channel.
Watson came home to Bradley County, surveyed the damage and began securing supplies; he continues to assist in recovery efforts, which are in full swing; all of this while having to travel back and forth to California and other points, where his “Hollywood” job takes him.
“Bradley County and Cleveland is my hometown,” Watson said. “When I learned of what happened that night (April 27), I immediately began making plans to come home and help. This is a rare opportunity to return home again and produce a show about the heroes after the storm. That is what we are looking for for this special Weather Channel programming — those who worked together and have made that special difference in storm victims’ lives.”
“In the end, there will be a big surprise,” he added.
Bettes arrived on the scene in Joplin, Mo., where 138 deaths were reported after a massive tornado destroyed most of that town.
Here in Bradley County, residents endured tornadoes for approximately 12 hours as up to 10 twisters struck throughout the day, with the most deadly tornadoes sweeping through near dusk and later.
Thousands of homes were damaged and hundreds destroyed completely. Nine people died in Bradley County.
According to Melissa Midori of TWC’s public relations team, the promo spots will be for the series beginning in November.
“The series focus will pay tribute to severe weather heroes who have helped during this year of devastating weather events,” Midori said. “Tornadoes, floods, wildfires, heat — extreme weather has affected much of our country in 2011, and TWC wants to find those stories of neighbors helping neighbors, or even strangers helping strangers.”
“The promo is a call for submissions for viewers to enter their helpful neighbors for the prize,” according to Midori.
Severe weather heroes can be nominated from Aug. 22 to Sept. 11 at Facebook.com/theweatherchannel.
Heather Urban, an executive producer of Pietown Productions, is asking for film footage and any type of storm-related photography which may be used in the production of the promo and afterward in the finished series.
Hail, storm damage photos, video footage and oddities from the storm are requested.
Urban’s email address is email@example.com.