WAVERLY, Tenn. (WKRN) — Ten weeks after a flood destroyed much of Waverly there is a desperate need for more volunteers.
The response team responsible for helping families prepare for rebuilding was initially supported by hundreds of volunteers, but they are now operating with minimal resources.
“We had, I want to say, 600 volunteers that first day,” said Julie Dimitrov, who works for the Volunteer Reception Center in Waverly. “Today, I can say we have 10 volunteers out working.”
The reception center is operating out of an old Save-A-Lot on Eas Main Street. They help families prepare for rebuilding.
“Every day we get homeowners coming through this door that say ‘my home needs mucked or gutted’ or ‘I’m to the point now where the home cannot be saved’ and we need to have that demolished,” said Dimitrov.
The process of rebuilding has no easy solution. City and county agencies cannot go onto private land unless they have permission from the owner. Even then, Dimitrov says there just aren’t enough volunteers to get the work done quickly.
“I’ve got over 400 cases of homeowners coming in requesting help and I still have at least 150 or so that are still actively being worked on,” Dimitrov said.
Volunteers like Kurt Melby have spent every day since the flood helping out.
“I’ve been taking down houses for like three months,” said Melby.
Melby and his wife came down from Tulsa, Oklahoma, and have been volunteering in Waverly ever since.
“I’m 78 and my wife is 81,” said Melby. “There was a tornado in Moore, Oklahoma and I got a calling from God.”
Kurt spends his days collecting and moving debris, while his wife cooks for the volunteer crew.
“You have to get a release to go on the property,” said Melby. “It takes about two loads per house unless it’s big. And if the house is full with clothes, furniture everything, it’s almost twice as much.”
It’s no glamorous gig, but it’s one Melby is passionate about. He says he’ll move debris for anyone who needs him to for as long as he can.
If you are in need of rebuilding assistance or a case manager, you may call the volunteer reception center at (931) 888-8011 or (931) 888-8012.