Some will provide well-deserved remarks of appreciation to dozens of groups, churches and organizations, and thousands of individual volunteers, whose selfless acts of giving have been instrumental in our hometown’s recovery.
Some will offer communitywide memorials and somber opportunities of reflection for those lives lost while remembering in prayer, spirit and support the Bradley County families still struggling to overcome their losses.
Some will re-energize impacted families and fatigued volunteers who have shared the great burden of recovery and rebuilding since the tragedies of last April, as well as those newest disasters that came to our doorstep most recently on March 2.
Some will provide musical entertainment and a breath of fresh air for those desperate for a brief respite from the past year of hard work and the continuing emotional challenge of accepting this cruel dose of reality. Others still face despair that is compounded by the complicated details and paperwork of insurance; or, in some cases developing a direction in the absence of insurance.
One will continue the physical momentum of that which volunteers have made possible since April 28, 2011. We speak of the Bradley County Day of Service which is being made possible through the good work of several organizations — the Bradley County Long-Term Recovery Organization, the Cleveland Cleanup campaign, various faith-based groups and churches whose congregations have been among the area’s finest volunteer workers, and others.
This Day of Service will be held one year after the start of cleanup from the devastation handed down last year by those five merciless tornadoes.
On Saturday, April 28, at 9 a.m., volunteers will be asked to convene at the former Food Lion grocery store on APD 40. Here, daylong projects will be handed out to crews in all corners of the Cleveland and Bradley County community.
Connie Wright, Day of Service coordinator, described its purpose in a statement to our newspaper that was published in Wednesday’s edition.
“While there has been much work done since that day (April 27, 2011), you can drive through neighborhoods and see that we still have homes in our area that have trees down and building materials scattered about yards,” Wright said. “We saw the volunteer spirit on April 28 of last year and through 2011 into this year, and we know there are those who still want to help where they can.”
Certainly, many volunteers from past initiatives will wish to continue their work.
All will have the opportunity. To maximize volunteer opportunities, First United Methodist Church will provide day care services for parents who want to volunteer to help during this day of cleanup activities. The Salvation Army will provide canteen services to the workers in affected areas.
Many organizations will be helping. A sizable force is coming from out of town. The Chattanooga-area Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints will provide 46 volunteers. The number of Cleveland-based churches, groups and individuals is undoubtedly countless.
Those wishing to obtain additional information, or those wanting to ask for assistance or to volunteer, should call 423-464-1849. Or, sign up to volunteer by visiting the Community Action Network website at www.cbcan.com.
We envision a Food Lion parking lot crammed full of willing volunteers on the morning of April 28.
And probably even more.