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Kenneth Limpham of Oxford operates a skid steer to help clear fallen trees, including this one with a lengthy tap root, from around Mt. Nebo Baptist Church on U.S. Highway 231 in Equality. Photo by Christa Jennings
Warren Tidwell with Hometown Organizing Project in Auburn stops to talk to Kenneth Limpham about where the skid steer is needed next in the ongoing cleanup efforts. Photo by Christa Jennings
Numerous fallen trees are gathered in a pile along County Road 304 in Eqaulity, waiting to be picked up and cleared away. Photo by Christa Jennings
Ed Youngblood; a professor at Auburn University, pictured at right; pauses during cleanup efforts to talk with tornado survivor Tony Ellis. Photo by Christa Jennings
Kenneth Limpham of Oxford operates a skid steer, helping clear trees and debris from what was once a driveway to a residence in Equality. Photo by Christa Jennings
Volunteers came from near and far to aid Coosa County tornado survivors in ongoing recovery and cleanup efforts, operating heavy machinery and chainsaws, as well as using their bare hands, to help those in need. Photo by Christa Jennings
By Christa Jennings
Senior Staff Writer
The Coosa County Long Term Recovery Committee and numerous volunteers have continually worked to help clear the way and cleanup debris from the January 12 tornado that impacted numerous residences in southern Coosa County.
The committee organized its third Volunteer Cleanup Day last Saturday, following additional cleanup days held January 28 and February 18.
Despite the heat and other events occurring the same day, 54 volunteers came out last Saturday and serviced 11 different sites in total in the ongoing recovery efforts for tornado survivors. The committee reported that a great deal of progress was made at each site.
Operation BBQ partnered with Triple R Cafe in Rockford to provide lunches for the volunteers and survivors, with many commenting on how delicious their lunch was and how appreciative they were.
Organizations represented during the March 4 cleanup were Hometown Organizing Project of Auburn, First Baptist Church in Alexander City, Stone Ridge Baptist Church in Alexander City, and the Equality Volunteer Fire Department.
Special equipment that was supplied for the day and which proved quite useful during the cleanup efforts were three trucks, two trailers, five chainsaws, two skid steers, and a Caterpillar D5 dozer.
Among the many volunteers were District 4 County Commissioner Ronnie Joiner and Judge of Probate Richard Dean who also volunteered and lent their hands to help the cause.
The Long Term Recovery Committee thanks the volunteers who have helped with all three cleanup days and also extends special thanks to Rehobeth Methodist Church for the use of its facilities.
Following its meeting on Monday, the committee consensus was to wait about further organized volunteer cleanups because of the county deadline on debris pickup, which is today. As such, no future cleanup days have been scheduled at this time.
Case management is now being done by the United Methodist Committee o Relief to determine specific needs of the survivors. This data will then be brought to the Coosa Long Term Recovery Committee when it is done.
As a reminder for survivors, the county’s deadline for having storm-related debris sorted into piles along the roadside is today in order for the Coosa County Highway Department to pick it up over the next week before its deadline.
Additionally, the deadline for survivors to apply for FEMA assistance is Thursday, March 16. Those who applied and were denied are encouraged to appeal FEMA’s decision. For assistance or more information, contact the Coosa County Long Term Recovery Committee at 256-935-9561 or CoosaLTR@gmail.com.
Sharon Coffman, chair of the committee, was pleased to report that the county will soon be receiving six donated beds, including frames and mattresses, for survivors in need.
To read one of the tornado survivor’s stories, see next week’s edition.