LEE COUNTY, AL (WSFA) - As the recovery and cleanup process continues in Lee County EMA officials say volunteers are still needed.
EMA officials say volunteers are needed to cleanup some of the areas hardest hit places and they are going to be needed for quite some time. This is not going to be a quick fix. There is so much debris, and so many trees that need clearing, it’s going to take a long time, and a lot of people, to get this community cleaned up.
Officials say volunteers are showing up, in fact, every day this week has seen an increase in volunteers at the volunteer reception center in Beauregard. EMA officials say about 60 volunteers showed up on Monday and more than 80 on Tuesday. Wednesday there were about 150 volunteers.
Many of the volunteers have been working to get damaged trees cut down and move some of the large and heavy debris to the road. EMA officials say that’s just the first phase.
“Once the saw folks get done doing their work, they don’t cleanup that stuff, they don’t pick that stuff up and push it to the streets.” Chris Tate with EMA Jefferson County said. “They don’t worry about some of the smaller limbs and stuff like that. So there’s plenty of work that can be done by folks that are willing to get a little dirty, and pick up some of these limbs, debris, or rake yards, making sure that walking through yards trying to pick up mails and screws so that it’s safe doe homeowners to come back and start to rebuild their lives.”
The whole mission of the volunteer reception center is to make sure those already impacted by the tornadoes are not inconvenienced anymore. The volunteer center works to send out teams twice a day to assess the needs in the damaged areas and then puts together an “instant action plan” for volunteers.
All volunteers who check in get a bucket with work gloves, glasses, a mask, and trash bags. Once it’s empty, the bucket can be used to collect any personal items that are found in the rubble.
EMA officials say it important to check in at the VRC not only for safety but also to be sure you’re helping where you’re needed the most. Documenting all the help can also go a long way for Lee County in the federal disaster recovery declaration process.
Starting Thursday, all volunteer operations will be working out of the volunteer reception center in Beauregard. The VRC is located at Windmill Acres on Co Rd to 47. The volunteer reception center is open 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. every day.
EMA officials ask potential volunteers to keep in mind the facility will close, and volunteer operations will shut down if the weather gets bad. Also, the Smiths Station VRC has closed.