Albany storm volunteers ask for help -, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Albany storm volunteers ask for help

The group needs funds (Source:WALB) The group needs funds (Source:WALB)
Members are still volunteering (Source:WALB) Members are still volunteering (Source:WALB)
Tom Gieryic, volunteer (Source:WALB) Tom Gieryic, volunteer (Source:WALB)
Larry Cook, Public Works Director (Source:WALB) Larry Cook, Public Works Director (Source:WALB)
Judy Bowles, Executive Director (Source:WALB) Judy Bowles, Executive Director (Source:WALB)

 A unique crew of Albany volunteers has banded together to make a dent in the massive amount of storm debris left in Dougherty County.

The 'Albany Chain Gang', as the group refers to itself, has assisted thousands of people over the past five months, but now needs your help.

Members of the group said money is starting to run out. They need help with equipment. So, they can continue their mission.

"Most people think that most of the clean up is done, it's not," volunteer Tom Gieryic said. "All you've got to do is go to the main road and ride down the alleys. It's still devastating." 

That's something Gieryic and other volunteers are trying to change one log at a time.  

But helping out has its costs. Gieryic said it takes around $10,000 a month to operate two crews, and the group's check book has just run out. 

"No gasoline for the guys, no diesel fuel of the equipment, all the other stuff we normally buy," Gieryic said. "No repairs on the saw. We're basically broke right now, but we had to do it to get the equipment out." 

They're only funded through the next month right now, but Gieryic said the value they've created for residents free of charge is in the millions.

County leaders, who've also lead efforts to clean up more than 550 thousand cubic yards of debris, are taking note. 

"The partnership we're seeing between private and public and volunteer groups is tremendous," Dougherty County Public Works Director Larry Cook said. 

The county is working with Keep Albany-Dougherty Beautiful to get debris to the right of way and cleared because they, too, know how costly the devastation can be.  

"They're on fixed incomes," Judy Bowles, the Executive Director of Keep Albany-Dougherty Beautiful, said. "They're older citizens and they need us to band together and help them."  

A need that, with a little extra help from the community, many hope to meet in the coming months.

If you'd like to help the Albany Chain Gang, you can contact Tom Gieryic at (229) 384-5993. County residents can also stop by the Keep Albany-Dougherty Clean offices at 2106 Habersham Road to pick up a storm relief release form. 

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