CLEVELAND, Tenn. — The kindness of strangers in the wake of the 2011 tornadoes still is benefiting Bradley County's children.
The Salvation Army's storm victims fund is being dispersed, with some money going to county elementary schools damaged by the storms.
Organization officials presented the money — a check for $58,700 — to Bradley County Schools Director Johnny McDaniel during the teacher in-service session last week to start the new school year.
"They presented a big check for Michigan Avenue and then for students affected by the tornado at Blue Springs, and that money went to Waterville and Black Fox," McDaniel said.
During the first week of school, Black Fox and Waterville elementary schools received $15,000 each. At both schools, the money will be used to buy computers and technology for students from Blue Springs Elementary, which was destroyed by the April 2011 storms.
At Michigan Avenue Elementary School, where the gymnasium was demolished by the storm, $28,700 will purchase athletic equipment for the newly finished gym, said Sgt. Ruthie Forgey, Cleveland Corps officer of the Salvation Army of Greater Chattanooga.
After the storms hit the region, a disaster relief fund was set up to help the area.
"Nationwide, people saw it on television and wanted to help because this area was hit so hard," Forgey said. "We received funds from all over the United States."
In all, the Salvation Army raised about $1 million for the Chattanooga region, including Bradley County and Northwest Georgia, Forgey said.
In July, the Salvation Army presented a $44,625 check to the Bradley County Emergency Management Agency, money that pays for Nixle alert services free to anyone in Bradley County.
Nixle issues localized alerts for weather and other emergencies and is used by individuals as well as emergency services nationwide.
There is a link for free signups on the Bradley County EMA's Web page at bradleyco.net/ema.
Randall Higgins covers news in Cleveland, Tenn., for the Times Free Press. He started work with the Chattanooga Times in 1977 and joined the staff of the Chattanooga Times Free Press when the Free Press and Times merged in 1999. Randall has covered Southeast Tennessee, Northwest Georgia and Alabama. He now covers Cleveland and Bradley County and the neighboring region. Randall is a Cleveland native. He has bachelor’s degree from Tennessee Technological University. His awards ...