MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - Cleanup efforts continued in Lee County on Wednesday as residents come to terms with what happened there 10 days ago. An EF-4 tornado ripped through the area on March 3 leaving 23 people dead and dozens of families displaced.
The Alabama Forestry Commission Incident Management Team has been on the ground in Lee County for one week. The 12 person team deployed upon a request from state and local emergency management agencies. The task for the team has been to organize the volunteer clean up efforts.
“We have a team of our guys come in as division supervisors. We divide the volunteers up in groups and we disperse them out all over the county. They work with the home owners and the victims of this tornado,” said Joel Bartlett with the Alabama Forestry Commission Incident Management Team.
Bartlett says between Beauregard and Smiths Station 5,500 volunteers have come through since March 3 to help with the clean up.
“Progress is unbelievable. With all the volunteers that have come through they have done an excellent and outstanding job. In the Beauregard community, with what we were tasked by the AMEA and Lee County EMA, we are at 95 percent complete,” said Bartlett.
With the objectives met in Lee County the Incident Management Team will demobilize at the end of the day, but they stress there is still a big need for volunteers.
"We want the volunteers to keep coming. They will be needed in months to come and in days to come," Bartlett.
People like John Himes have already stepped up to answer the call.
"We are going to be here until the end of the month," said John Himes.
Himes, an Ohio resident, is a crew leader with the non-profit Eight Days of Hope.
"We have volunteers from Kansas, Wisconsin, and Tennessee," said Himes.
While Eight Days of Hope is on a mission to help this community recover it goes beyond that.
"We are here to lift the homeowners up and give them a little bit of peace," said Himes.
People can still sign-up to volunteer with the Lee County Emergency Management Agencies or at the volunteer reception centers.