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Tornado damage in Sequatchie County
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Tornado damage in Sequatchie County

East Valley Community cleanup day

› Purpose: Clean up downed trees, brush and debris

› Where: New Hope Cumberland Presbyterian Church, 176 E Valley Road, Dunlap, TN 37327

› When: Dec. 31 at 8 a.m. CST

› To volunteer: Contact Melissa Mackey via email at tnmelmack@yahoo.com or text or call at 423-447-8275 to volunteer. Sign up no later than Monday to ensure enough food and supplies are available.

› To donate: Make monetary donation to DUMC-Storm Relief (Dunlap United Methodist Church). All donations are tax deductible and receipts will be issued upon request.

› Mail checks to: Dunlap United Methodist Church, 1958 Main St., Dunlap, TN 37327

Cleanup day needs

- Volunteers

› Equipment (chainsaws, dump trucks, log splitters, Bobcats, grapplers, front loaders, etc.)

› Commercial-grade heavy duty black trash bags

› Bottled water

› Food to feed volunteers at lunch

› Gloves

› Monetary donations

Volunteers plan to clean up Sequatchie County's storm- damaged East Valley community on Saturday morning.

An EF-2 tornado packing 111–135 mph winds swept through the area overnight Nov. 30, initially touching down in nearby Marion County before weaving a 13-mile path of downed trees, debris and chaos.

Volunteer coordinator Melissa Mackey with CSO Contracting recently announced the need for helping hands, equipment and food for the event.

"Thankfully, we had no loss of life," Mackey said. "However, we do have lots of property destruction and debris that needs to be cleaned up."

The cleanup also will tackle downed trees, she said.

Anyone wishing to volunteer should contact her no later than Monday so organizers can provide enough food and supplies to all who want to help, she said. Volunteers will start their day at 8 a.m. at New Hope Cumberland Presbyterian Church, on East Valley Road. The church suffered major damage in the storm.

Mackey called for gloves, chainsaws and commercial- grade heavy duty black trash bags, as well as heavier equipment such as dump trucks, Bobcats and log splitters.

Dunlap United Methodist Church will accept tax-deductible monetary donations to assist with storm relief, she said.

The tornado has displaced a dozen families, Sequatchie County Emergency Management Agency Director Winfred Smith said Friday. The storm destroyed seven homes and caused major structural damage to another five, rendering them uninhabitable.

An additional 14 homes experienced some sort of minor damage — missing shingles or cracked windows — Smith said.

Assessments of private property damage are underway and the county will submit those figures in seeking federal financial assistance, he said.

"A lot of people have no insurance or not enough insurance, and they will need help," Smith said.

Smith said he hopes those hurt by the tornado will at least be eligible for low-interest federal loans to help them recover.

"There will be lots of rebuilding and repairs to be made," Mackey said.

Despite all the homes lost to the tornado, all affected families do have roofs over their heads, Smith said. Some are staying with relatives while others have sought rental housing.

Smith praised the Dunlap Lions Club for bringing holiday cheer to those who lost their homes.

"They are making some baskets so the children have Christmas," Smith said, noting the efforts of many volunteers and supporters. "I would tell people to keep them in your thoughts this Christmas."

Other cleanup days will be scheduled for the Lewis Chapel area, which also suffered damage, Mackey said.

"This is a great opportunity to end 2016 with a day of service to your community while helping those affected gain some beauty back as we begin a new year," she said.

Contact staff writer Paul Leach at 423-757-6481 or pleach@timesfreepress.com. Follow him on Twitter @pleach_tfp.

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