Friday, December 16, 2016

Letter from Southeast Tennessee Executive Director, Julia Wright - December 2016

In the span of only a few short weeks, disaster after disaster have left our communities across southeast Tennessee facing great loss and devastation. Wildfires, a tragic bus accident, and most recently, damaging storms and tornadoes touching down in multiple counties have left many of our neighbors and friends with immense heartache and in great need of our support. It’s hard to believe so many tragedies could unfold in our area in such a short time.

The storms in early December that included severe straight line winds and three confirmed tornado touchdowns impacted hundreds of individuals and families in the McMinn, Polk, Sequatchie and Bradley county areas. Nearly every resident of one subdivision sustained damage, leaving many homes completely destroyed with only the foundations intact.

Within hours of these tragic disasters, the Southeast Tennessee Red Cross responded, and more than 70 volunteers nation-wide deployed to our area to lend their support. In the immediate aftermath of the storms, our teams were on the ground conducting damage assessments and opening shelters in Polk and McMinn counties where the majority of the storm damage was sustained.

In the weeks ahead, the Red Cross will continue to lend our services and support to these areas and the families who have lost so much. Our recovery services teams will provide mental health and counseling support, clean up supplies and hope to families who have been greatly impacted this holiday season.

Living in a disaster-prone area, the recent storms and their path of devastation in southeast Tennessee are a critical and very real reminder of the importance and need of preparedness and community support every single day. Our volunteers and the ongoing support from our community are the reason the Red Cross can continue administering care and support for our friends and neighbors impacted by these devastating tragedies.

While we can’t know exactly when disaster will strike, we do know that emergency preparation can make a life-changing (and life-saving) difference in the event that it does. As the director of our Southeast Tennessee Red Cross, I encourage you to be ‘Red Cross Ready’ so that you’re prepared for a potential disaster. If you’re not sure where to start, the Red Cross will guide you through the three steps that are key to good preparation: 1) Get a Kit, 2) Make a Plan and 3) Be Informed.

I encourage you to click the link below, test your preparedness and get started creating an emergency plan for your family today:

Julia Wright

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