On April 12, 2020, Easter Sunday, an EF-3 tornado devastated neighborhoods in Chattanooga and unincorporated parts of Hamilton County, including the well-established East Brainerd neighborhood of Holly Hills.
Several hundred homes in the 50-plus year old community were either destroyed or heavily damaged. Also destroyed was the neighborhood pool, home to its Fun Swim League team and facilities for community gatherings. The four brick markers at neighborhood entrances also were damaged.
The community to date has been unable to rebuild the pool, but thanks to 40-year neighborhood member Sherry Harvey Poole and the generous donations of Staci Skiles of Acme Block and Brick and Andrew Jenkins of Jenkins Masonry Inc. the markers have been rebuilt.
The energetic Poole, in the process of calling around to check on brick prices or the possibility of donations, was put in touch separately with Skiles and Jenkins, who offered the bricks and labor, respectively, at no charge.
"I was just in tears because they were doing it for free," she said.
After the rebuild, Poole's husband, John, and neighbor Mac Matthews installed the old lettering (and a new letter Matthews fashioned), and Poole herself added solar lights. Residents then donated eight holly bushes to surround the neighborhood entrances on Standifer Gap Road.
"It's neighbors working together to better the neighborhood," Poole said.
The residents of Holly Hills -- many new since the tornado -- appreciate all the generous donations that allow their proud neighborhood to shine once more.