Today is Monday, August 21, 2017

Gustav sends 134 evacuees here

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"The outstanding officers that have been here with us for 24 hours a day provide a very helpful presence. They have given us a feeling of security and discipline that has proven to be extremely valuable," Markham added.

Markham said a special church service is being planned for Wednesday night with several of the evacuees taking part in the service.

"We’re going to have a special prayer service for their safety and their return trip home. This experience has been an opportunity for our church family to share with those in need and we want the evacuees to go away from here with a good feeling," said Darren Brown, college minister at College Hills.

More than 100 College Hills church members have volunteered to stay with the evacuees to help entertain the children, serve food and to lend an ear in this uncertain time.

After the Hurricane Katrina disaster three years ago, the American Red Cross made arrangements with College Hills church leaders to use the church facility as a possible evacuation site in future hurricane or like situations.

Leaders at the local church got the call Thursday informing them of the possibility of some evacuees using the church as a temporary shelter.

The evacuees flew into Smyrna airport and arrived in Lebanon by bus. The majority of church members learned about the evacuee’s arrival at the Sunday morning worship service.

"We are thankful that our church family and community have responded so wonderfully, on such short notice, to assist in a project our church has never attempted before," Brown added.

The Red Cross has coordinated food with many local restaurants providing meals for the evacuees. Some of the local donors include Michael’s Café, Sonic Drive-In and Jordan’s Catering. The Kappa Sigma Fraternity at Cumberland University brought towels and other supplies Sunday evening for the evacuees. The Salvation Army has been on-site supplying food and necessary essentials for those in need.

On Monday evening, the First Baptist Church of Sevierville brought their mobile shower and laundry trailer to be used by the evacuees throughout the week.

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