Many local residents wanting to get directly involved have already stepped forward, but more are needed for two days of training scheduled next week, according to Lisa Mantooth, former executive of the Hiwassee Chapter of the American Red Cross and newly named LTRO case manager supervisor.
“Bradley County is blessed with a wonderful volunteer spirit and I am confident that our community will once again volunteer to assist the people affected by the April 27 tornadoes,” Mantooth said in an LTRO press statement today.
As disaster case workers, the volunteers will assist in the area’s ongoing recovery efforts by working with individuals and families to identify resources for their unmet needs, Mantooth said. The group of volunteers will report to Mantooth.
The case worker supervisor, who reports to storm recovery leader Jim Polier — selected to his position by the LTRO board in mid-July — is a tornado survivor as well. Her family resides in the Blue Springs area, not more than 200 yards from the devastating twister that debilitated Blue Springs Elementary School, whose damages are beyond repair.
Next week’s volunteer training will be held over a two-day period — on Monday, Aug. 8, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Tuesday, Aug. 9, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. It will be held at Wesley Memorial United Methodist Church, located at 3405 Peerless Road.
Disaster case worker volunteers will be required to attend both days of training.
Area residents with an interest in serving as volunteers, or who have questions about the training, should contact Mantooth by calling 423-479-2020 or by email to email@example.com.
To support the community’s long-term recovery, and to assist the LTRO board, United Way of Bradley County is providing office space for Polier, Mantooth, a VISTA volunteer and facilities for meetings and conferences. The contact number is the United Way switchboard.
The LTRO workers are operating out of the offices that formerly housed the old Council of United Services inside the United Way building. United Way is located at 85 Ocoee St. in downtown Cleveland.
“As we move forward with our long-term recovery goals, we will need compassionate volunteers to serve as case workers,” Mantooth said. “This is a great opportunity for folks in our community to help those who have suffered so much already. Trained volunteers will work with a specific family or individual to ensure that they receive the resources available to continue in the recovery process.”
Mantooth confirmed several volunteers are already on board to work as disaster case workers; however, she is hoping for as many as 25. Ideally, the full contingent of volunteer case workers would be on board in time for next week’s training.
Once in the field, disaster case workers will collect information which will be used to help identify resources, Mantooth explained. Volunteers also will use data collected by the Christian Reformed World Relief Committee’s Disaster Relief Team whose “Green Shirts” have worked in Bradley County and other areas over the past couple of weeks to assess storm damage in the worst hit neighborhoods.
All information compiled to date since the April 27 storms will be helpful to disaster case workers as they provide individual support to Bradley County families and storm survivors.
“While many in our community have already met with insurance or other officials, and are either on their way to rebuilding or relocating, many others still have needs that have not been met,” Mantooth said. “We met several during our Town Hall meetings last week who asked where to turn for the help they need.”
She added, “... We hope that by having our case workers meet with these families, we can address those concerns.”