CROSSVILLE (WATE) – The Red Cross has been in Crossville since the ice storm hit more than a week ago. They opened up a shelter and have housed people every night since, but they say the good news is the power is coming back on for most people and they’ve seen a lot of people get to go home.
“It’s unbelievable how much damage has been done, but it’s mostly trees,” said First United Methodist Church member Frances Carson.
The damage left behind by the ice and snow has left many in Crossville stunned.
“I don’t know what’s going to happen. It’s devastating in some ways with the loss of trees and things of that sort,” she said.
Volunteers flooded into town. People from the area and others working with various organizations all wanted to lend a helping hand.
“It’s stressful I know being out of your home. I went through the tornadoes three or four years ago and I was without power four days so I know how they’re affected,” said Doodle Eubanks with the Red Cross.
The Red Cross has been a big part of getting people back on their feet. The shelter at first United Methodist church is just one example of that, providing three meals a day, a place to sleep and clean up, and a chance to relax as much as possible.
“Anything we can do to keep the stress level down we have tried to do. They have showed movies in the sanctuary at night, had some games for the kids,” said Eubanks.
Now as the lights come back on for many, volunteers are looking ahead at what’s next for their community.
“It’s been a group effort and we just happened to have the, God is good, we just happened to have the right facilities,” said Carson.
The Red Cross says they have seen a lot of local volunteers come out to help including a mental health counselor. He says a lot of people don’t realize the trauma people go through during times like this.
“Just really anyone who needs to talk about what they’re going through and the aftermath of this situation is what I’ve been doing,” said counselor Scott Hull.
Hull works as a mental health counselor in Crossville, and since the ice storm hit and pushed thousands out of people out of their homes until the power comes back on, he has been volunteering his time at the Red Cross shelter to help them cope.
“When a person goes through a situation like this, it can affect them in a lot of different ways and some people that go through trauma can be affected down the road with some post traumatic stress symptoms,” he explained.
Other volunteers are focused on physical health needs. The Red Cross has EMTs who respond to disaster zones, ready to help.
“It’s a typical disaster. You’re just here for the client, making sure their health needs are okay and if they need anything you help them through it and get what they need,” said Red Cross EMT Tracy Draper.
Both are important pieces to rebuilding the people in this community as they rebuild the community itself.
“A lot of times people just need to have their experience validated, what they’re going through, because every story is different, every situation is different and its just really important to allow that person to tell their story,” said Hull.
They all say having the chance to help someone in need is what helps them through.
“It’s nice to get back, work with the same people that you know, and know that they can do good,” said Draper.
Red Cross officials say there are still a few people without power who need to stay in the shelter. They say if the shelter does close soon they will put those people up in hotels.
You can always help out these storm victims by donating to the Red Cross. To make an automatic $10, just text “REDCROSS” to 90999. The Red Cross says they’re also in need of blankets and comfort kits.