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Putnam And Cookeville Community Donate Some $240K To December Tornado Victims

/ The Upper Cumberland's News Leader
Putnam And Cookeville Community Donate Some $240K To December Tornado Victims

Putnam County and Cookeville residents and businesses donated some $240,000 to help families in west Tennessee and southern Kentucky impacted by the December tornadoes.

Mayors Ricky Shelton and Randy Porter made the announcement Thursday on the second anniversary of the Cookeville tornado. The mayors held a Zoom meeting with the mayors of Dresden and Kenton, Tennessee and Graves County, Kentucky.

“We wanted to do something positive on our second anniversary and hopefully it will help your communities,” Porter said. “You have been in our prayers, we have thought about you a lot, you’re still in our prayers. And we just hope that these funds will help each of your communities to recover.”

$100,000 will go to Dresden. $100,000 will go to Graves County. $40,000 will go to Kenton. Shelton said the money was raised in the aftermath of December’s storm as local residents from across the Upper Cumberland showed their caring.

“We knew that morning after the tornado hit that night that we wanted to do something,” Porter said. “Because we know what you went through. Not everybody can say that. If you haven’t been through one of these you may think you know how you’re feeling and the things you went through, but we actually did.”

Dresden Mayor Jeff Washburn said that 178 homes were destroyed in a community of 3,300 people.

“We do have a lot of people who were underinsured or not insured at all,” Washburn said. “And there are many of those people that are still suffering in our community as we try to repair their homes or get new roofs.”

Graves County Mayor Kathy Onan said that 24 individuals died in her County, and that they lost every county government building. She said that they will be putting the donations towards assisting those who have lost their homes or their vehicles with down payments.

“From the bottom of my heart, I thank you for everything this means so much to us,” Onan said. “Especially on this day that you all are thinking about. I am overwhelmed and I am so appreciative.”

Danny Jowers leads Kenton’s rebuilding. He said the community has cleared away the debris, but much hard work remains.

Shelton said that in reflecting on the December 13th tornado, it stirred up a lot of emotions that this community felt in March 2020. He said that they wanted to do something positive to give back.

Each of the three mayors pledged that the money would be spent on victims who need assistance. A vetting process, similar to the one put in place in Putnam County, will ensure the money helps those in need.

19 people died on March 3, 2020 when a tornado touched down on Highway 70.


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