This time “The Wind” was a faceless enemy to the residents of the state, and it came barreling through North Georgia with speeds over a hundred miles per hour, leaving a path of debris and destructions miles wide. The Chattanooga Times Free Press is reporting that as many as half of Ringgold businesses saw losses due to the natural disaster.
Trees were uprooted like a child plucking daisys from the field, and the green forests that cover Georgia mountaintops were cleared, with pines snapping like toothpicks. But Georgians rallied to aid their neighbors this weekend, proving that Southern benevolence is still alive and well.
McDonalds was one of the victims in the tornadoes path of destruction in Ringgold, Georgia recently, prompting the First Baptist Church of Ringgold to serve as the main source for a meal this weekend as Christians and others drove from all over the state to lend a hand with clean up.
The golden arches of the kids meal showplace were no where to be seen in pictures following the disaster. And the kiddie area looked dark and morose, but it was at least still standing, in spite of missing windows and askew lettering.
Debris litters the surrounding area, with pieces of the structure strewn before it. A fence now keeps vandals and potential curiosity seekers from gaining entrance to Ronald’s place but most were moseying over to the church instead, any way, loading up on free chili and other food items as they worked to clear property and homes of trees and debris.
Down the road from McDonalds and First Baptist Church, the Department of Family and Children Services took a hit as well. The structure is now a hodgepodge of items slammed together in no discernable fashion. A sign has been propped up outside to indicate what used to be housed in the facility, in case passerby needed reminding.
Even First Baptist of Ringgold took a hit, the church’s steeple was knocked down and the roof was peeled back, but the structure is remarkably unscathed otherwise, from the appearances outside.
One particular gas station in the stretch of road serving Ringgold Exit 348 was sliced into what appears to be aluminum ribbons. The storm didn’t stop there, moving along the area and taking out the windows at Hardees before attacking other businesses as well as people along the busy area. Windows at the Pizza Hut and Ruby Tuesdays restaurants on the strip cut their own fatal path at the tornadoes insistance.
All-in-all, the destruction brought the city to a halt as emergency personnel attempted to search and rescue the missing and hurt after the deadly storm hit. But this weekend crews from Georgia churches and elsewhere once again pooled resources and manpower in order to aid the victims and attempt some measure of clean up and restoration.
Ringgold is expected to receive a well-known visitor to the area on Sunday in spite of its inability to roll out the standard red carpet. But that’s okay this time, as the U.S. Homeland Security Secretary visitor, Janet Napolitano, is coming to see how she can be of help and to observe first-hand the damage to the area.
Several construction companies were instrumental in aiding the effort in advance of Napolitano’s arrival, lending equipment and personnell to help tackle the huge job that has only just begun. Two were Brad Higgings Construction and Mason Construction. Many businesses and entities, including Chick Fil A, have donated food items, water and other necessities to the Ringgold area to aid the clean up effort, too.
For information on how you can get involved contact the Georgia Baptist Convention or the Southern Baptist Convention today. Don’t sit on the sidelines while neighbors in your state attempt to deal with one of the worst natural disasters to ever occur in our country. Put on your work gloves and boots and pitch in. You never know what will happen, as your area could experience a similar disaster next time. You would need help then, too.
Sources: Chattanooga Times Free Press, Georgia Baptist Convention members and churches