One of the things I’ve learned about the overland community is that everyone cares for everyone. If someone is in need of help expect an Overlander to show up with numbers. This couldn’t be any more true about the crew that showed up to assist my community by clearing trees and debris from homes and roads after the recent tornadoes on November 29-30th 2016.
Above photo from The Weather Channel
About 2:00-2:30am an EF-3 tornado with about 160 mph winds ripped through Ocoee and Old fort Tennessee leaving homes demolished and completely unrecognizable the tornado took out our power grids for nearly the entire county with it as well. Along with the destruction we lost a post office and one of our small fire stations, worst of all the small Tennessee community lost two human lives.
Hearing the news Volunteers flooded me on social networks asking to help or donate goods for our area honestly, I became very overwhelmed and unorganized by the rush of messages. But we finally set up a volunteer date with Richard Taylor from Polk County fire and rescue, which was Saturday, December 3rd, 2016 he organized all the incoming volunteers at a lodge dispatching and assigning work orders to everyone.
Our work orders had us going to Stump Road in Ocoee, Tennessee to assist with clearing which is what they called “ground zero” the worst area hit. The Overland group loaded into chainsaw filled rigs and convoyed to the desired location and we began to see heartbreak destruction almost like a war zone.
Once we settled into our parking area, we began to prep for a long day of chainsawing. Everyone filled their chainsaw gas tanks and adjusted their chains moments before we started walking home to home.
In my past experiences Tornado victims are typically very thankful when volunteers show up, especially the individuals and families that have lost nearly everything. It gives them reassurance that they are not alone and will always have someone to lean on even in the worst of times. So we encourage you to get up off that computer and go find someone to help even the little things put a smile on someone’s face.
Joshua Shaw- Polk County TN
Ceatta Collins- Polk County TN
Dunn Fout- Virginia
Zach Jansen- Chattanooga
Joseph Bootstrap- Northeast Georgia
Taylor Posey- Northeast Georgia
Josh Bent- Chattanooga
Brandon- Polk County TN
Steve- Northwest Georgia