“I really wanted to be a part of it because even though our home wasn’t affected, two minutes down the street it was just crazy,” Hall said. “I’ve never seen so much [devastation]. A lot of times we don’t have the financial means to help, but I try my best to get out there and do what I can do with my hands. So in a way this is something else that I could do to help out.”
More than six months after the EF-3 tornado tore through Adairsville, with the height of the damage occurring around the intersection of U.S. Highway 41 and Ga. Highway 140, many impacted residents are returning to their homes, courtesy of Bartow Christian Disaster Recovery. In Bartow, the storm killed one person, damaging more than 400 residential structures and about 30 commercial properties.
Sanctioned by the local government, Bartow Christian Disaster Recovery — consisting of churches throughout Bartow County — raised funds and organized volunteers to assist in relief efforts. The disaster response team has repaired or rebuilt about 25 homes, demolished 22 structures and more than 5,000 volunteers have contributed over 45,000 man hours. While the majority of helpers live in Georgia, the storm efforts have drawn people throughout the country, with some traveling from Texas and Michigan.
“It was kind of like surreal because you hear about it happening to other areas and you never think about it happening to you,” Hall said. “But when it does, it just kind of takes you back. I just never thought I’d see anything like this is in this area.
“... A lot of times, we always look at it like a sad thing, which it was but even in that it brings the city together because a lot of times you get to not only meet other people in your hometown that maybe you’ve never met but also spend time with people that you haven’t in a long time. It just makes you feel as one again.”
During the Tornado Relief Rally, former Atlanta Braves Manager Bobby Cox and WSB-TV Chief Meteorologist Glenn Burns will assist in the fundraising efforts.
According to a press release from the Rome Braves, “On Saturday night, the front concourse will be setup for emergency preparedness. Fans entering the gates can learn how to prepare for a weather emergency and how to build an emergency kit.
“Also all pre-game activities will involve Bartow and Gordon County residents who were affected by the storm. Zane McFarland and his grandmother Betty Stewart will be throwing out the first pitch, Georgia House will be singing the [national anthem] and Ahmad Hall will perform God Bless America. Additional recognition for those who responded to the tornado will be held during the game.”
To purchase tickets — a portion of which will benefit the Northwest Georgia Red Cross to assist the tornado victims — call 706-378-5144 or visit www.romebraves.com. State Mutual Stadium’s gates will open at 6 p.m.