Ringgold Tornado Disaster Response
LEARN MORE ABOUT HOW YOU CAN HELP: www.catoosacoad.com
The April 27, 2011 Ringgold Tornado
Catoosa County and Ringgold faced active storm events on April 27, 2011 beginning with wind damage on the west side of the county in Lakeview and Rossville areas in the morning hours. Later that day a storm cell brought with it a tornado that touched down about 8:15 p.m. along Davis Ridge Road as a F1 proceeding northeast across neighborhoods in the Poplar Springs area. The tornado increased in strength as it hit Ace Hardware and Food Lion shopping centers near Alabama Highway and Poplar Springs leaving destruction that crippled the Exit 348 business district along Alabama Highway. The National Weather Service said that the storm become an EF4 tornado reaching 175 miles per hour destroying and damaging homes, schools, churches and businesses from Clark Circle to Ooltewah-Ringgold Road before it crossed White Oak Mountain into Cherokee Valley. In Cherokee Valley the tornado destroyed home after home as it barreled towards Apison, Tennessee.
The devastation was significant from the storm. 539 Residential dwellings were damaged and an additional 84 were completely destroyed. Our commercial district was also particularly hard hit with 42 damaged buildings and an additional 30 destroyed. Among those the sites destroyed were the Mt. Peria Baptist Church and three 1800′s historical residences. More tragically, eight Catoosa County residents lost their lives that night.
The Ringgold UMC Response:
So close to the storm, yet largely spared, Ringgold United Methodist Church, became a hub for the response to the storm within a couple of hours. The response was immediate from early that night, guided by the conviction that God was calling Ringgold UMC to be a center for help and hope in an incredible time of need. The outpouring of assistance came through our larger church connection, the folks that make-up Ringgold UMC and the larger Ringgold community.
The first few days were harried. By Thursday morning, church leaders were serving and responding to the needs of the community immediately around the church by becoming a location for residents remaining in the impact zone to seek food and other services. Beginning on Friday, the North Georgia Conference of United Methodists agreed to coordinate all volunteer efforts in response to the disaster. Plans were set in motion for the Ringgold United Methodist Church to serve as the primary Disaster Response Center within the city partnering with Poplar Springs Baptist Church in the Southern impact zone and Cherokee Valley Baptist Church in the Northern impact zone. Thus began several weeks of mustering volunteers to go door to door to evaluate needs of individuals or families sheltering in place; catalog needed volunteer services for cutting trees, clearing properties, tarping, and initial repairs.
The initial volunteer response was a mighty one. Volunteers served thousands of meals, assisted hundreds of survivors, distributed tons of food, water, supplies donated for the relief. Then thousands of more hours continued as volunteers cut trees, cleared properties, tarped roofs, and performed initial repairs to hundreds of our neighbors. Local businesses also opened their door to help. Ringgold Telephone Co. became the receiving location for the tremendous outpouring of supplies, which came in from across the region. The churches then received those items getting them to those in need.
Catoosa Organization Acting in Disaster (COAD):
The next step in recovery was to begin to planning to help unmet needs in the recovery. That is when the Catoosa Organization Acting in Disaster (COAD) was formed in a cooperative spirit between community churches, civic organizations, non-profits and business leaders. The COAD came together in the 3rd week after the storm and is worked diligently ever since to assist those who would otherwise be without home or help in the recovery. From case work to fund raising to the coordination of building resources, this group continues to actively be a part of restoring hope in Ringgold. The COAD includes a partnership of churches, non-profits, and business leaders from around the country to help build houses for the uninsured and underinsured in Catoosa County. Ringgold UMC is fully committed to working to restore hope through the Catoosa Organization Acting in Disaster.
For more information on either how to donate, serve or partner in the rebuilding efforts in Catoosa County, please visit the COAD website at http://www.catoosacoad.com/ Additional information for work teams looking to serve and for those seeking help can be received at the helpline at 706-935-2109 or email@example.com. The Long Term Recovery Center is open now on Mondays 10AM till 2PM.
• Coordinated 24 separate teams of volunteers who have worked building homes and making repairs etc.
• Volunteers came from over 15 different states and Canada including: California, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, New Mexico, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, and Wisconsin and also from Ontario, Canada
• Hosted and coordinated the Christian Aid Ministries (CAM) in their building work and ministry to the Catoosa community.
• CAM volunteers; 290 people, worked 13,878 man hours.
• Raised approximately $750,000
• Provided funds to furnish HVAC, plumbing and electrical, unmet needs for clothing, furniture, rent, cars, and food
• Built 14 houses for residents who lost theirs by the storm and were unable to replace them by all resources available beyond the COAD.
• Re-roofed 58 houses damaged by the storm and repaired 23.
• Completed 29 major home repair projects.
The rebuilding in Catoosa County has been a complete success and done by the one year anniversary of the storm. With the wonderful help from many rebuilding team around the country and especially Christian Aid Ministries, the COAD has helped over 382 families with direct fulfilling of unmet needs.
Our next project kicked off Memorial Day weekend. Our :Tree Program” will cover the removal of trees within a 50ft area of homes, training and information WHY and HOW trees need to be removed, along with future partnerships on reforesting and replanting of trees. If you are interested in training we will have two sessions on June 23 and are offering participants a chance to win a new 20″ Chainsaw from Echo.
Disaster Recovery Resources
• COAD (Catoosa Organization Acting in Disaster)
P.O. Box 53, Ringgold, GA 30736
Located in Ringgold United Methodist Church (Mondays 10AM till 2PM)
For Unmet Storm Related Needs
• Salvation Army
(423) 305-6200 OR (423) 756-1023
For Unmet Storm Related Needs
• Georgia Recovery Project
(706) 225-9262 firstname.lastname@example.org
For Counseling Needs
• Christ Chapel Share and Care Mission
For Food & Clothing
• Dept of Family & Children Services
• United Way