Baker County organizing to revitalize - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Baker County organizing to revitalize

March 4, 2007

Baker County - - Governor Perdue declares a state of emergency in Baker County. Six people there are dead. Others injured and struggling to move on with their lives. The community there is uniting to make it a little easier for those displaced by a disaster. 

A glimpse of the damage from a dirt road reveals a picture of destruction once occupied by homes and life. Now, the old community off old Pretoria road is desolate.

"The immediate problem at the moment when this happened was to see about the residents. Whether they were safe or where were they," says County Manager Evelyn Phillips. She says the search and rescue mission after Thursday's storm was thorough but tragic.

Amidst the acres of destruction, black metal is visible. It's the foundation of a trailer picked up and blown hundreds of yards away. A nine year old and a 13 year old were inside.

"We lost everything we had. I lost everything, my pictures, my house, my car got totaled. I thought I was gonna lose my youngins but thank to God I still got both of them. I still got myself," says victim Melissa Davis.

She also has a bruise around her eye. Her son has bruises across his back and legs from when they both fell during the tornado. Thanks to the American Red Cross, who are set up outside of the old county courthouse, they are getting by.

"I thought there was a lot of people that didn't care, but they do."

Even though the road to recovery seems so far away when pictures of devastation are clear and ever-present.

"We stickin together," Davis says.

South Georgians are raising money to help tornado victims in Baker County and you can help. The Early County Forestry Queens are collecting money and supplies. It's called "Boxes for Baker County". They've already raised a thousand dollars, but much more is needed. If you'd like to donate money or supplies, you can contact Wyndy Enfinger, the Early County Forestry Pageant Director at 229-723-5507 or Co-director Charlotte Kennedy at 229-724-7311.  

Members of the faith community in Baker County met after their worship services Sunday to develop a plan of action after the county's tornado tragedy. 

The President of Georgia Voluntary Organizations Active in Disasters, or VOAD, met with local ministers about creating a long-term recovery program in Baker County. The group would help get victims back on their feet by offering long-term support.

"There's a lot of good people in the U.S. that want to donate funds, donate goods, and also donate their own time to help people that are affected by disaster such as here in Baker County and Southwest Georgia. To do this, they have to have an organization that is a 501 c3 non profit status that can receive these donated goods," says Bob Tribble.

The organization would also help make sure people are better prepared if a disaster hits again.

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