DOUGHERTY CO., GA (WALB) - At least 100 Dougherty County citizens are on a growing list needing rootballs pulled up by a January 22 tornado moved curbside.
It's an all-out volunteer effort and folks will be working right up to the deadline.
Charlie Freeman, a full-time unpaid volunteer and founder of 'Charlie Freeman Ministries', a non-profit with the sole purpose of helping individuals in need, said "Everyone working with me is all volunteer and giving their time."
Perhaps the most dedicated volunteer for Keep Albany Dougherty Beautiful rootball removal effort in unincorporated Dougherty County is Mr. Freeman.
Mr. Freeman has been involved in disaster work for more than 40 years, with experience working disasters like Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans.
He is now applying this unique skill set helping his hometown recover from the EF-3 tornado.
"I am glad to be back and help my community recover from this. I have a personal goal to visit every homeowner that has been affected by the disaster to make sure their needs are met," said Freeman.
On Tuesday, Freeman used donated heavy equipment to remove rootballs in a yard in Radium Springs, an area that Keep Albany Dougherty Beautiful Director Judy Bowles commented, "is a hard hit area."
Walking the streets along Skywater Boulevard, Keep Albany Dougherty Beautiful Executive Director said people must come to her office in person to fill out the paperwork by August 1.
"On August 1, every name that is on there we are going to come in and we are going to bring your rootballs out. After that date, a citizen is going to have to deal with it by themselves," said Bowles.
Moving a rootball requires heavy equipment and someone who knows how to use it, like volunteer Freeman.
"Last week we pulled the largest amount out of one yard and it was nine rootballs. One was over nine feet tall. It took two tractors to push and pull it to the yard. We are going to find ways to help the homeowners recover their property and make it beautiful again," said Freeman.
It is very important for citizens in unincorporated Dougherty County that have been affected by the tornado to sign the necessary waiver to allow volunteers to remove rootballs on private property.
If you want help removing a rootball, you need to visit the Keep Albany Dougherty Beautiful office during normal working hours.
The address is 2106 Habersham Road, Albany, GA 31701.
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