By Samantha Serbin, WTVM
SMITHS STATION, AL (WTVM) – An outpouring of support and love from across the country has come to the Chattahoochee Valley this past week.
Volunteers from as far away as Ohio and Arizona brought their helping hands after tornadoes heavily impacted the community.
The Alabama Forestry Commission’s public information officer said they had over 1,200 volunteers on Saturday alone. But even though a week has passed since the storm, volunteers and donations are still needed now more than ever.
Smiths Station experienced the worst damage and destruction it had seen in a long time from the tornadoes. However, the unfortunate weather brought out the best in the community.
“We were absolutely trapped in this house,” said Smiths Station homeowner, Cary Stokes. “Within an hour and a half, we had 40 to 50 people with chainsaws and even some heavy equipment, clearing the driveway and the roads so we could get out the next day.”
“Volunteerism, you can’t beat the job of volunteerism,” said Nancy Page. “It’s the best job there is out there.”
Page said volunteers have come out in bus loads.
“A lot of the major work has been done already at this point, but there’s still a lot of need out there,” Page said. “There’s still a lot of people that are hurting out there. There’s still a lot of destruction everywhere you look out there.”
Joel Bartlett, Alabama Forestry Commission’s public information officer, said what Smiths Station needs most right now is heavy equipment to move large debris piles outout of people’s yard to the road. “We’re still trying to move debris out of yards and get them to the sides of the road so the counties and other individuals can haul off the debris,” said Bartlett.
He said the help shouldn’t end anytime soon.
“You know the volunteer efforts after about generally a week everything kinda starts slowing down, everybody’s gotta get back to work,” Bartlett said. “But I think the volunteer efforts will be needed the next couple of weeks and maybe even a month out.”
“And when there’s a need out there in the community, there’s nothing better you can do than to get out there,” Page said. “It gives more than it takes, that’s truly what it does and it’s a blessing.”
If you can’t help with heavy machinery or debris, Bartlett said donations are still needed to provide families with things they lost in the storms.