MT. JULIET, Tenn. (WKRN) — Mt. Juliet can’t seem to catch a break from summer storms, including one carrying a powerful punch of lighting suspected of catching an apartment complex on fire.
“I’ve lived here all my life. We have never had anything that just keeps coming at us, so we’re praying; we’re like, ‘Hey, we need a break here for a second,’” said Amy Breedlove, the executive director of MJ4Hope.
MJ4Hope is working to assist fire victims with an estimated $30,000, which will go directly to residents who have been displaced, as well as a firefighter who is in critical, but stable condition.
“Some of those families lost everything in their houses. I mean, I can’t imagine. You know, I’m running here and we all feel busy and we feel pulled every different way, but we have a home to go to, and I think that it could happen just like that,” Breedlove said.
MJ4Hope is one of several organizations working to keep up with storm damage that doesn’t seem to stop. Regina Girten recalls organizing clean-up efforts after the March 2020 tornado. Since then, her work hasn’t stopped. She now works to coordinate volunteers through her organization, the Volunteer Network.
“We did that work through that tornado, the flood in 2021, and a subsequent tornado in December of 2021, and Volunteer Network was birthed out of those efforts,” Girten explained.
Flash forward to this summer as Wilson County has seen more than 30 damage reports, according to the Storm Prediction Center. Some of those reports include a house struck by lightning in addition to the Glass Creek apartments, a car crushed by a tree, and numerous downed powerlines and branches.
“Something my colleague Jamie Tyner and I always say is it’s not if another event is going to occur, it is when, and that has just continued to highlight our need to continue to broaden our reach to say, ‘Hey, please come to our platform, sign up, create a profile, let us know some of the skill sets you have,” Girten said.
So far this summer, the Volunteer Network has responded to 15 homes needing clean up, with nine more to go.
MJ4Hope will continue to help community members with funds.
“It’s shown us how to work together and, you know, communities aren’t ready, aren’t prepared for this. You never want for this to happen, but hey, we’re getting there,” Breedlove said.
MJ4Hope is still raising donations to help Saturday’s fire victims. You can donate, or reach out for help, by clicking here.
The Volunteer Network is asking for assistance for storm damage cleanup on Aug. 26 from 8 a.m. to noon. They also welcome community leaders, churches, and other organizations interested in disaster response.
To get involved, you can attend their meeting at the Lebanon Wilson County Chamber of Commerce on Sept. 7 at 10:30 a.m.