The collaborative project includes the Banner staff, AbitibiBowater Newsprint Calhoun Operations, Neely Printing Company and 17 distribution partners, most of whom are Cleveland area financial institutions.
Although the edition carries a May 27, 2011, dateline, it is not included in today’s regular edition. It may be obtained only at the distribution outlets which will collect the disaster relief donations.
All proceeds will be used in direct support of Bradley County families who were impacted by the debilitating storms that churned through the community one month ago today.
Five deadly tornadoes, ranging in strength from EF1 to EF4, raged through the county killing nine residents, destroying 285 homes and damaging more than 300 others.
“‘Road to Recovery’ is a tribute to Cleveland and Bradley County, and it is an endearing testament to the human spirit of our community’s residents,” Banner Publisher Stephen Crass said. “This special edition was a huge undertaking made possible by the hard work and big hearts of a lot of people including our own newspaper staff and newsroom team whose writers contributed new and previously published pieces from the past four weeks.”
The publisher credited the work of the newspaper’s entire staff while pointing to the design talents of long-time Associate Editor Gwen Swiger who directed the exhausting project that was a full month in the making.
The special edition includes news stories, human interest features, photographs, personal columns and editorials.
The newspaper had plenty of support from its project partners, Crass said.
An AbitibiBowater team personally selected the heavier weight and brighter white newsprint that was donated by the company. Employees directly involved in the process were Curtis Biggs, Paul Breeden, Chris Kane, Jeff Combs, Randy Locke, Butch Maddox, Scott Edgemon and Joel Cruz.
Jerry Neely, owner and operator of Neely Printing Company, provided the professionally designed signs that are being used to showcase the special editions at each distribution site.
The downtown office of United Way of Bradley County is serving as a distribution site as is the Banner’s office at 1505 25th St.
Seven financial institutions are making available 15 branches as distribution sites.
- Bank of Cleveland: Four sites including 1400 25th St. N.W., 1200 Perimeter Drive, 75 First St. N.W. and 190 Paul Huff Parkway.
- Southern Heritage Bank: Three sites including 2530 Dalton Pike, 3795 Georgetown Road and 3020 Keith St.
- United Community Bank: Two sites including 4405 North Ocoee St. and 2525 Keith St.
- Athens Federal Community Bank: Two sites including 950 25th St. N.W. and 3855 Ocoee St. North, Suite 300.
- Tennessee Valley Federal Credit Union: Two sites including 2440 Treasury Drive (near Walmart South) and 180 Stuart Crossing (off Stuart Road).
- Andrew Johnson Bank: 555 North Ocoee St.
- Bowater Credit Union: 4531 Hardwick Farms Parkway.
“This keepsake edition will serve as an appropriate tribute and a fitting honorarium to Cleveland and Bradley County residents who pulled together at their best when times were at their worst,” Crass said. “Too, it will provide a vehicle for donors who want to continue to support the recovery of our community while helping to make a difference in the rebuilding of their neighbors’ lives and homes.”
The special edition is also a remembrance of those whose lives were tragically lost: Rhonda Smith Casteel, Eva Catlett, Tommy Evans, Chase Glasgow, Tami Glasgow, Evelyn Johnson, Robert King, Lisa Pack and Kandice Satterfield.
“Our community’s full restoration could take years, but those first 30 days told us much about ourselves, our neighbors and thousands of others in surrounding cities and states whose residents reached out to aid in our recovery from this disaster,” Crass said. “It is the camaraderie and the giving spirit of those directly and indirectly involved during the pivotal first month that we have sought to capture with ‘Road to Recovery — The First 30 Days.’”
As quantities of the special edition run low at each distribution site, they will be replenished until supplies are exhausted.
The consolidated Cleveland-Bradley Disaster Relief Fund was established by the Mayors’ Coalition. It is coordinated through United Way of Bradley County.