Laura Mountain, a crisis counselor for Tennessee Recovery Project got the idea to form Cleveland Cleanup from cases she has worked.
Travis and Teena Garner lost their home April 27. When they lost their home, they also lost all of the beautiful trees which covered the landscape.
As a part of the ongoing effort to clean up many storm-damaged areas, Mountain asked for volunteers who want to help “finish the job.”
Finishing the job means getting rid of the many downed trees.
“Many neighborhoods are still affected and littered with debris and downed trees from the April 27 storms,” said Mountain.
“Saturday, we were in the English Oaks area providing cleanup of brush and trees from the Garner property. We want to have more volunteers to commit to being available for a property each weekend for cleanup,” she added.
“We are very appreciative of everyone who is helping,” said Teena Garner, as she worked around the new house being built on their property.
The Cleveland Cleanup group needs help from volunteers who have chain saws, rakes and strong backs as well as those who may just want to provide a truck to haul the freshly cut wood away.
Mart Epperson took the offer and hauled cut wood away.
“We have been attempting to find a local business or businesses which may allow us to have space to store wood for those who may need it as a heating source, but we are also asking for volunteers who may need wood, and all they have to do is show up with their truck and haul the wood away,” Mountain explained.
The group will be tackling more downed trees each Saturday.
Mountain said the Leonard Center at Lee University is also planning to jump in on the project.
Through her work as a counselor with TRP, she was able to recognize the need for such a group who would volunteer their efforts to removing the downed trees and debris left from the deadly April twisters.
Her husband Eric, who is a coach at Cleveland Middle School brought several students to the site.
“This will teach them a good work ethic,” said Laura.
Mountain said winter is a great season to perform this type of work, especially after the devastation which coursed along approximately 40 miles of Bradley County’s landscape.
Numerous tornadoes April 27 destroyed homes, businesses and lives.
Many properties were under insurance provisions and in a number of cases, residents remained in shock or were overwhelmed by the storms. FEMA. approved some of the cleanup, but the rest was left to property owners or insurance companies.
Mountain said many people in Bradley County don’t live in the affected areas and they don’t see on a daily basis what is left regarding debris.
Twisted and downed trees dot the landscape in English Oaks as well as many other areas.
Thousand of trees were lost during the multiple tornadoes.
Volunteers were still arriving at the property Saturday afternoon with chain saws in hand.
Jeff Widener of Widener’s Landscaping was using his Bobcat to pull heavy trees to a safer cutting location. Eric Mountain was busy with a chain saw cutting up the trees.
Paul Finley, a Green-Shirt contractor was also on the site helping, just as he did when the Green-Shirt group came to Bradley County after the storms.
The Green-Shirts is one of many faith-based response organizations who have helped during the past nine months as the new-normal is sought.
“Still so much is to be done,” Mountain said last week prior to the first day of cleanup.
“There are countless number of trees to be gotten rid of. The damaged trees are also a constant reminder of that day,” Mountain said.
Cleanup each week is expected to get under way at 9 a.m.
For additional information, contact Mountain at 605-6125. Information regarding how and where to volunteer for cleanup is also posted on Cleveland Cleanup Facebook page.