Volunteers begin building homes for wildfire victims

SEVIERVILLE (WATE) – Dozens of volunteers gathered at the Connexion in Sevierville to build homes for wildfire victims on Saturday.

The Appalachia Service Project, Volunteer East Tennessee, the Mountain Tough Recovery Team, and the United Methodist Holston Conference came together to organize the first ever “Community Build Day”.

“It’s all about helping people try to get back to a normal,” said Ellen Wilhoit with Mountain Tough Recovery Team Chair.

“They’ve lost everything and anything we can do to give them hope for the future, and for you know, there’s people who care, and then they’ll have a chance to give back someday as well.”

14-year-old Jeffrey Goodman and his mom drove from Lenoir City to help. Goodman says he has been volunteering and donating to the wildfire recovery since the beginning.

“Now they can go back to their houses, instead of staying in hotels and family places, they can go back to some new houses,” said Goodman.

The homes will be up to three bedrooms and will come with the necessities each family will need.

Each home will take 27 frames. Saturday’s goal was eight homes.

Carolyn Cox from Caryville says she and her husband feel blessed and wanted to give back to the community by volunteering.

“People lost their homes and everything that they owned,” said Cox.

“It will be nice to be a part of them having another home for them to go to after the fires destroyed everything.”

The homes will take two to three weeks to build.

Appalachian service project will be a part of the first 25. After the first 25 are finished, the Mountain Tough Recovery Team will take over until all the needed homes are built.

Walter Crouch, the President and CEO of the Appalachia Service project says this is a cause close to the organizations heart. He says he wanted to help others be a part of the cause.
“For these folks to come out and build homes for people that they maybe don’t even know is a great thing,” said Crouch.”

“It just shows their love of this area, the love of their neighbors and that’s what’s important.”

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