Tim Garrett and his family will begin moving into their new home in the Lead Mine Valley.
Builders began after land was prepared in September. Although the Garrett home is near completion, two other complete rebuilds are under way at this time as well, according to Lisa Mantooth, LTRO case manager supervisor.
“We are very excited to be able to present the keys to the Garrett family before Christmas. LTRO and others will be dedicating the home on Dec. 15, during a noon ceremony,” Mantooth said.
Mantooth said that of the other three worksites, the foundation is being constructed now and site preparation is under way on another complete rebuild.
The LTRO was set up just weeks after the April 27 storms which destroyed or damaged hundreds of homes in Bradley County.
“This is great that community involvement and the rebuilding process through LTRO, Habitat for Humanity, K.A.C.E. Development and others has progressed this quickly,” said Matt Carlson, co-chair of LTRO.
Churches and civic groups continue to step up to aid families who were victims of the deadly twisters which raked through approximately 40 miles of the Bradley County landscape, killing nine people, destroying and damaging homes and causing approximately $50 million in local damage.
Many needs were met through challenges during a series of “Unmet Needs” meetings.
Families who lost some, most or all of their belongings were aided. Clothing, furniture, bedding and other items were provided through the case work performed by Mantooth and volunteers who wanted to help survivors of the deadly tornadoes.
Marc Bitzer, president of Whirlpool North America, visited Cleveland and prompted the decision to play a role in the long-term recovery, re-supplying local tornado victims with appliances. Bitzer and other Whirlpool employees also worked on the ground to repair homes in the Archer Lane/Dalton Pike area.
“Since the Garrett home is first to be completely built from the ground up, we were a little unprepared,” Mantooth said.
“We expected the home to be finished just before Christmas but the progress has gone quicker than expected. Builders called this week and said they were ready for appliances to be installed. We weren’t quite ready for that but happy to be moving that quickly,” Mantooth said.
Mantooth said a new Whirlpool refrigerator is expected to be shipped from Michigan to the Cleveland facility for the new home.
“I am thankful to have the opportunity to serve Bradley County survivors. I am honored and thankful to work for the LTRO,” Mantooth added.
Jim Polier, director of LTRO, said recently a number of homes have also been repaired utilizing money raised by www.bradleydisasterrelief.org.
Organizers with Lee University and Cleveland/Bradley Disaster Relief Efforts raised funding through a number of area concerts immediately after the storms.
Cleveland/Bradley Disaster Relief Efforts was a social media site formed by Steve Watson, Kelli Bilyeu, Stacey Swafford, Melissa Locke-Kaylor, Suzanne Wisdom, Tammy Leatherwood and others. The Bradley County and Cleveland government essentially adopted the organization’s effort and LTRO was organized from that baseline.
United Way of Bradley County, which is providing rent-free office space downtown for Mantooth, Polier and the LTRO efforts, is overseeing the Cleveland/Bradley County Disaster Relief Fund which is paying for multiple home repairs and is funding the total rebuild of five new homes.
The fund continues to accept donations as Bradley County works toward its “New Normal.”