Tri-Cities volunteers step up to help out South Carolina

KINGSPORT, TN (WJHL)- South Carolina’s Governor, Nikki Haley is warning residents to keep their guard up as more flooding may be expected for the state.

This as more volunteers from our region make their way to South Carolina with much needed supplies.

One week ago, a deadly storm slammed South Carolina resulting in record-breaking rainfall and catastrophic flooding.

Late Friday afternoon, state officials said the foundations under some bridges on Interstate 95 have washed out, and they cannot say when a 13 mile stretch of one of the most important highways on the East Coast will be open.

From retired folks to first responders, people in the Tri-Cities are leaving the safety of home to go to the flooded areas of South Carolina, proving that Tennessee truly is a state of volunteers.

From Katrina, to Sandy, Jim Ramey has been there, serving soup to hundreds, scrubbing mold off walls.

“That’s the best tired you’ll ever have,” Ramey said.

Since 1987, Ramey has headed from Kingsport to disaster zones across the country.

Now Ramey is the disaster relief director for the Sullivan Baptist Association. He has rounded up a group of eight volunteers to head to South Carolina Sunday.

“After about a week, that’s about all this old body could stand because its tiring, hard work,” Ramey said.

But even a week will make a difference. The group will take nearly 30,000 dollars of equipment to clean the mud and mold out of houses.

“The water leaves but the mud doesn’t,” Ramey said.

And already in South Carolina is a group of first responders from the Tri-Cities. They headed out Friday morning not knowing what tasks are ahead.

“You never know with flood waters rising, what may happen, there may be some buildings that have been moved off their foundation, they may be in a swift water situation where they may have to rescue someone,” Barry Brickey with the Kingsport Fire Department said.

And American Red Cross of Northeast Tennessee sent five volunteers including a nurse, IT expert, and assessors.

“It is a joint effort by a lot of people and it takes a lot of expertise to try to cope with this as it’s happening because this is a disaster that is ongoing at this moment,” Glenda Bobalik, the executive director for the American Red Cross of Northeast Tennessee.

Ramey said no matter where he is there’s one question he always gets- “How come you guys do this?”

He said his answer is always the same.

“There was this fellow came along a long time ago, his name was Jesus and he left us an example to go by and that’s what we’re doing, were just trying to follow his example,” Ramey said.

He said all the hard work is worth it to bring a little kindness to hurting people.

“The smiles say it all,” Ramey said.

To find out how to donate to relief efforts you can call the American Red Cross at 1-800-RED CROSS.

Copyright 2015 WJHL. All Rights Reserved.


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