Polier said home rebuilds are continuing, with a dedication scheduled later Thursday.
The LTRO was established last July, and received its nonexempt status in December. Polier explained the roles of the organization’s committees and volunteers who make up the recovery group, including a legal advisory panel.
The director showed a map of the devastating path of the 2011 tornado outbreak which claimed nine lives. The biggest tornado took a path 20 miles long and a half mile wide as it cut across south Bradley County, through Chatata Valley Golf Course and raced to the east. It left destruction and mayhem behind.
The early March storm was not as aggressive, cutting across an area north of Bradley Square Mall, over North Lee Highway and on to Delano. Thankfully, no one was killed or seriously injured in this year’s storm.
“The community has been very farsighted in forming this long-term recovery group,” said Polier. “We’re far ahead of other communities.”
He said the community has a strong work ethic and has been commended by FEMA for setting up a plan, scheduling town hall meetings and moving forward. “FEMA said they were going to use us as an example (for recovery efforts),” Polier continued.
The LTRO director said more than 1,700 people were affected by the 2011 tornadoes. This year’s storm was not as extensive, with six homes destroyed, 12 damaged seriously and 16 having minor damage. Many others were also affected.
“What we deal with,” said Polier, is people who didn’t have insurance, or enough insurance.”
The director said the recovery is a vetting process. “We vet, because we want to be good stewards of the money we receive,” he said. “We have a criteria for each homeowner, and we build houses with volunteers.”
Thursday afternoon’s dedication was on Thurman Lane, for a woman who didn’t want to go back to the site of her destroyed home in the Blue Springs community.
Polier said 107 families have been helped, 96 cases have been closed and there are 15 to 20 ongoing projects in the recovery effort. He commended individuals, businesses and industries in the community who have helped with the effort. Whirlpool Corporation has donated 140 appliances.
He said the recovery effort is now monitoring property which has been abandoned since the storms in 2011.
Polier added that it takes about six weeks to build a new home from start to finish. He showed video clips of some of the home projects.
Matt Ryerson, a Kiwanian who has worked closely with the recovery group in his position with United Way, said a few words following Polier’s talk. Ryerson recognized the media’s involvement in the recovery, Lee University, Bradley County Commissioner Adam Lowe, and Charleston distributor Ross Tarver, whose home was destroyed in the more recent storm.
Ryerson said Tarver saw a man at the cleanup following the more recent storm. “He asked him if he knew him, and the man said, ‘You were at my home last year.’”
“This month is the one-year anniversary of that storm,” Ryerson said. “It’s also a subdued memorial to the nine people who died.”
Polier praised assistant Lisa Mantooth and her effort during the recovery. “We also want to thank all our great partners across the community,” he said
The recovery director also emphasized that the mobile homes destroyed in the 2011 tornadoes are being replaced with more permanent structures. “These homes include a storm-proof room to give them a little sense of security,” he said.
- Club members are busy planning for the annual pancake breakfast. This year’s event is scheduled for Saturday morning, April 14, at the Bald Headed Bistro in The Village Green,
- Kaye Smith announced that the 4-H Club History Fair is planned for May 5. Some Kiwanis members will to serve as judges.