Brickmill tornado damage has residents in need

Keith Law’s home and business were not destroyed by the F-3 tornado that hit the Brickmill community of Blount County and Greenback on March 23, but the loss he sees for his neighbors is causing its own pain.

Law, owner of Law’s Brickmill Market, said the Brickmill community was the hardest hit of any area in Blount County, with the devastation surrounding Law’s business.

“The Brickmill area was hit the worst in Blount County,” he said. “Everything happened beside and behind our store here in Brickmill.”

Law said he and his family tried to help out as much as we could the evening of the tornado. The parking lot was the command center for law enforcement, television news crews and many of the emergency vehicles, he said.

“The night of the tornado, we couldn’t even get to the store, every road was blocked. We didn’t know if we were destroyed or not. When we got power, we opened up and let people come inside and use the bathroom and get what they needed and we didn’t charge them,” he said. “They needed someplace to go. We saw 70 to 80 cars in the parking lot a day for two days.”

Law said that those residents affected by the tornado often come to his store. “People are still hurting, and I do meaning hurting,” Law said. “A lot of them don’t have any insurance, and if they do, they don’t have enough,” he said. “Most of them in the Brickmill area are customers of ours. When they come in, they’re just devastated. They don’t have anything, they’ve lost everything and many don’t have insurance. They’re hurting.”

Law said he’s beginning to see some progress on the area getting cleaned up a little at a time. “It is still going to be a long time before it is all cleaned up, but it is beginning to look better,” he said. “My wife and daughter, Ruth and Amy, were over in a nearby subdivision, and it is looking better.”

The store owner said people had donated so much that affected residents are about to “top out” with everything except for food. “That is a good problem to have. It is better to have more than enough than not enough. We’ve been taking stuff in, and we just gave a whole bunch of it away to Second Harvest,” he said.

Law said he is planning a benefit singing at the market and is currently recruiting acts. A time and date were not yet set on Tuesday. All funds raised would go to Red Cross disaster relief. “We would love for people who want to sing and play for the benefit to call,” he said. “We’ll probably have an all-day singing. Anyone who wants to entertain, it will probably an all day thing.”

Keith Law can be reached at 865-548-8821.

Community meeting planned

A community meeting will be held at 7 p.m. Thursday, March 31, at Niles Ferry Baptist Church, 6895 U.S. Highway 411 South, Greenback, for all persons affected by the tornado that struck both Blount and Loudon counties.

Niles Ferry Baptist Church is the central contact point for all needs that have arisen out of the tornado. Individuals needing assistance may call the church at 865-856-2179.

Donations of household items, clothing, and food have been overwhelming and the church is at its storage capacity at this time. However, monetary donations are needed and can be made at the People’s Bank, PO. Box 38, Greenback, TN 37742. Those donations are designated specifically to assist victims of the tornado.

In addition, residents and volunteers working in the area affected by the tornado are encouraged to receive a tetanus shot from the Blount County Health Department.

The health department has extended the free tetanus vaccinations to any Blount County residents living in or volunteering in the areas hit by the tornado.

Residents and volunteers can go by the Blount County Health Department from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. from March 28 through April 1 for the vaccination.

© 2011 All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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