Macon County Chronicle

Macon County Citizens Receive Governor's 2008 Volunteer Stars Award for Tornado Efforts

Mayor Shelvy Linville and Fire Chief Keith Scruggs recently accepted a Governor’s Stars Awards for the citizens of Macon County.

Nominating the Citizens of our county for their efforts following the February tornado were Linda McCrary and Brenda Hiett. 

“We thought everyone pulled together, it was a hard time, and a special time.  Many people suffered from the loss and devastation,” said McCrary.    

The letter reminds us of the countless efforts made in the aftermath of the storm, and of the strength of the people when united in a common cause:

Nomination Letter Submitted to the Governor
By Brenda Hiett and Linda McCrary

We proudly and humbly nominate the citizens of Macon County Tennessee for the Governor’s Volunteer Stars Awards.

On the night of February 5, 2008, Macon County, TN suffered its worst storm in history, an EF3 tornado. As many as 1,000 homes were in the storm path, and more than 300 structures were destroyed, leaving residents of these households and relatively sparsely populated communities of Macon County, homeless. One local resident described the tornado as Armageddon.

A saving grace for many Macon Countians was the fire at the Columbia Gulf plant which allowed many Macon County residents to see the approaching tornado funnel and to take protective measures. Otherwise, the death count of 14 people from the storm would most probably have been much higher.

Recovery efforts in Macon County began immediately. As quickly as victims realized they could walk, they checked on other members of their family and neighbors and assisted them. Efforts by the local law enforcement, emergency personnel, Macon County General Hospital, and Red Cross services were immediate. Employees of local utilities worked almost non-stop through the following weekend to restore services. Volunteers from surrounding counties and from distant states joined local residents and organizations. The citizens appreciated visits by the Governor and the President.

Local banks and a donation management center set up accounts and managed funds for storm victims. A toll-free crisis line was set up for counseling. FEMA and TEMA installed fourteen telephone lines and added a link to the FEMA website for assistance to storm victims.  4X4, USDA, and the UT extension office in Lafayette provided animal recovery arrangements. DCS provided children’s services. The National Guard Armory building served as shelter and many volunteers including youth groups, civic organizations, church groups and individuals worked tirelessly to comfort those in need.

Many volunteers are unknown but their service and support is recognized. The display of love to one another by the entire community during this tragedy is unimaginable. Rebuilding began quickly, for many with the help of family, friends, and neighbors. On a positive note, this tragedy brought the communities closer. Many individuals relied on strong spiritual beliefs to find solace and relief for their families and friends. Three local churches, destroyed by the tornado, are rebuilding and have joined with other churches for their worship services in this interim period.

A rural and not a very wealthy community, Macon County is home to many hard-working people who care about the lives of their fellow man. Known for its natural beauty with rolling hills and deep valleys, it is home to many wild animals that furnish pleasure for the deer and wild turkey sportsmen. Numerous streams offer great bass, catfish, and trout fishing. The tornado damaged many forests of hardwood trees but spared many trees, necessary for a healthy environment and natural beauty.

Debris removal continues from creek-banks to help keep the bountiful streams running through this much loved Middle Tennessee County that more than 20,000 people call home.