The Appalachian Center for Community Service at Emory & Henry College recently honored numerous college employees and one local organization for their service in the wake of deadly tornadoes that struck Glade Spring in 2011.
The Center bestowed Hope Awards upon the Emory & Henry Maintenance Department; Dr. Ed Damer, professor of philosophy; Nikki Lynn, an E&H senior; and the Long-Term Recovery Group, an organization representing numerous public and private agencies devoted to the recovery of Glade Spring.
The Long-Term Recovery Group, which includes representatives from 21 partnering organizations, was formed in the within a few weeks after the tornado. This team set to work forming action committees that focused on construction, case management, volunteer coordination, finance, emergency management, and donations management. The Construction Committee has provided more than 500 volunteer hours to conduct on-sight review of more than 70 homes to determine eligibility for assistance in rebuilding or rehabilitating the structures. As of January 1, with volunteer support, 49 homes have been rebuilt, repaired, or rehabilitated and twelve families are currently awaiting construction of new homes through a Community Development Block Grant. The Case Management Committee has managed approximately 225 repair, small construction, and transportation cases, as well as short-term needs such as housing, groceries, gas, and other day-to-day items, providing assistance to families and individuals.
Members of The Emory & Henry Facilities Management Team were among the first people on the scene after the tornado, beginning before dawn and working long into the days that followed. They set to work immediately clearing roadways for emergency personnel, moving debris, helping to cover homes that had lost a roof, gathering families’ possessions, and giving people access to their homes. When officials designated Emory & Henry as the staging area for volunteers, the Facilities Management Team offered support. Team members directed people, moved tables and chairs, set up parking areas, unloaded trucks of food and supplies, made accommodations for the many hundreds of people who came through here to get a pass to get into the affected areas, worked long into the night, and helped in every aspect of that important work.
Ed Damer, who has served the Abingdon Rotary Club for 40 years, has led efforts to raise money for the organization as the writer behind the organization’s popular Rotary Frolics, the proceeds from which have been put to use in the community. During the aftermath of the Glade Spring tornado, the Rotary Club provided financial and staff support for a food and clothing distribution center. In the rebuilding effort, the Abingdon Rotary Club took on the job of restoring and rebuilding the Glade Spring baseball field, Dunne Field, leveraging other financial support and in-kind work from philanthropic Foundations and local businesses.
Nikki Lynn was a leader among the hundreds of E&H students who stepped in to help victims of the Glade Spring tornado. She directed and participated in efforts to drive shuttles between the College and Glade Spring. She also helped coordinate volunteers transported to Glade Spring from the shelter set up at the E&H King Athletic Center. Her passion for community service, however, began well before she assisted with tornado relief efforts. A Bonner Scholar, with a double major in Public Policy and Community Service and Environmental Studies, Lynn was a regular volunteer at Rivers Way, Highlands Project, and the Emory & Henry Tutoring Program. She has worked long hours in the Emory & Henry community garden. In addition, she has been a leader in annual events such as Service Plunge, the MLK Day of Service, Take Back the Night, and World AIDS Day Observance. In addition, through her senior practicum placement, Lynn became heavily involved with the Washington County Chapter of Habitat for Humanity, helping organized volunteers in the Glade Spring Restore and helping coordinate volunteers at the Glade Spring building site.
Feature Photo Captions (clockwise from the left):
Top Left Photo: Ed Damer
Top Middle Photo: Nikki Lynn
Top Right Photo: (Kneeling) Sam Gobelli, Buddy Slagle, Glen Thompson, Robert Jones (Second Row) Anne Thomas, Ernie Price, Bick Adams, Sue Burke, Belle Hockett, Peggy McGhee (Third Row) Laura Pruitt, Ronnie Woodward, Joell Bassett, Judy Yoder, Terry McGuire (Back Row) Logan Hollar, Earl Hicks, Mike Taylor, Paul Hutchens, Kenny Hicks, Rick Porter
Bottom Right Photo: (Front row, left to right): Sara Hutton-Tallman, Kristina Morris, Rebecca Johnson, Pokey Harris, Barbara Farmer, Sharon Atkins, & Chris Rife. (Second row) Steve Kegley, Felicia NcNabb, Angela Farmer, Tony Rector, Cathy Freeman, & Carolyn Cattle