COAD closes its doors on a job well done

COAD closes its doors on a job well done

June 20th, 2012 by Mike O'Neal in Local Regional News

As COAD prepares to close the books on rebuilding efforts related to the tornado of 2011, Catoosa Organization Acting in Disaster has no intention to cease operations.

"The physical office is closing on June 15, but the board will continue to meet quarterly," COAD Chairman Phil Ledbetter said during the group's meeting on June 11.

Though it considers its rebuilding efforts over the past year a complete success, the organization's board is committed to keeping COAD involved in the community.

"Our quarterly meetings will help us continue training for disaster preparedness," Ledbetter said.

COAD will maintain and update records of the work it has done, but its focus will shift to coordinating countywide emergency preparedness efforts.

Formed to assist those who were un- or underinsured following the April 27 tornado, COAD held its organizational meeting May 10, 2011. During the past 12 months the group has coordinated 24 separate teams of volunteers who worked to repair and rebuild homes lost to the storm.

The group hosted and coordinated Christian Aid Ministries, a group of primarily Amish and Mennonite volunteers, in its rebuilding ministry. CAM sent 290 volunteers who donated 13,878 hours over nearly nine months to restore damaged and destroyed dwellings.

COAD served as the clearinghouse for donations that totaled about $750,000 and provided oversight of about $1.2 million in rebuilding projects throughout the Greater Ringgold community.

"For this disaster there was support from all over the country," said Jeanne Abdy, a caseworker and advisor to the COAD board. "It worked because so many were willing to actively assist, to do whatever was asked."

COAD was responsible for building 14 houses for residents who without COAD's help would have been unable to replace their homes. The organization's volunteers also re-roofed 58 houses damaged by the storm, repaired an additional 23 roofs and completed 29 major home repair projects.

Records show COAD directly helped more than 382 families recover after the tornado.

"All in all, the reason this area got cleaned up is not attributable to one group," Abdy said. "It was because all were working together."

Anyone interested in volunteering, or for information about upcoming training programs, should contact COAD by email at ringgolddisaster@gmail.com.