Stars of Hope bring light to Gatlinburg after wildfires

GATLINBURG (WATE) – With five points, some wood and a splash of paint, handmade stars are helping to bring light back to parts of Gatlinburg.

“It helps,” said Kevin White who lives in Chalet Village. “There’s a lot of damage over there, a lot of destruction. It’s nice to have some color, some people that care. Everybody understands stars. They’ve hand written on them. It was a personal thing.”vlcsnap-2017-02-23-20h17m56s200

A disaster relief and community arts program known as Stars of Hope created and sent 300 stars to Chalet Village, Pi Beta Phi Elementary and Arrowmont School of Arts and Crafts.

“When you put the stars up, instead of seeing the burned shell, you see the star and it’s bright and it’s colorful,” said Charle Smith with Stars of Hope.

The stars can be seen on trees and signs.

vlcsnap-2017-02-23-20h17m52s140“It’s just a beautiful gesture that people have made,” said Dean Cato who also lives in Chalet Village. “It’s nice to see them driving through here. There’s so much ugly and burnt up stuff. They’re bright and colorful and they catch your eye and all good positive messages. This one says hope you rock, which is kind of cool.”

The stars are doing more than bringing color to these charred areas of Gatlinburg, they’re bringing messages. Dwayne Cato said his sister-in-law lit up when she first saw the star near her property.

“Normally when Christi comes up you can see the struggle in her eyes, it really affects her, said Dwayne. “That day, when she noticed the stars, she had an extra pep to her didn’t she? And she had a smile on her face. It really seemed to excite her.”

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