Here’s a recent post I wrote for the Sevier County Jaycees.
Tragedies and natural disasters are always heartbreaking. However, we usually get to experience the sadness and tears from the comfort of our homes in front of our television screens. We cheer for the survivors, mourn for the lost, and feel the need to help those who have been hurt deep in our hearts. However, tragedies and disasters occasionally leap off the screen and run rampant in our own towns. This is what happened here in Sevier County and surrounding areas. Our neighbors, friends, and families have had their lives turned upside down because of the wildfires that have been ravaging East Tennessee. Destruction will either bring out the best in a community, or it will bring out the worst. We are so proud to say that here in East Tennessee we have rallied together and brought our best feet forward. We have banded together as one family under a blanket of smoke and ash. There has been an outpouring of support from across the country from children to celebrities. Jaycee members from surrounding areas brought in truckloads of donations. They coordinated with our local members to ensure their aid went to the right places. We have been so humbled by the generosity and support that has been given to our area. We have stood strong in one of the darkest periods our region has experienced in recent memory. As you know, the Jaycees are focused on community involvement and development. Without prompting, members of the Jaycees from across the country have banded together to create a relief fund for the children and families of those displaced by the fires. We have raised $3,000 and counting for our local families. Members of the Sevier County Jaycees used a portion of the money to purchase presents and necessities for distribution as part of their Christmas project, and have decided to divide the remainder up for various local support groups to ensure the money is directly used to help Sevier County. We are so proud of our community, and our Jaycees family for coming together to bring the spirit of Christmas to life. In our darkest hours, we can choose to fall, or we can rise. We will rise with the help of our family, friends, and neighbors. We are a strong community and will build back on the rubble of this tragedy that taught us how resilient we truly are. We are Sevier County and we are Mountain Strong.