On November 29, the community of Gatlinburg and the surrounding area was devastated by wildfires. The East Tennessee area is known for its beautiful mountains, and people from all over the country flock to the Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge area each year for vacations and fun. The amazing part of the whole ordeal was the immediate response from people in the community and the outcry of support from people all over the United States – especially in a time where many say our country could not be more divided due to the recent election. Well, guess what folks, this tragedy shows we are a country who cares about one another, and it also proves there are more important things than election results.
Gatlinburg is located in Tennessee, which is known as the Volunteer State. I am proud to live in a state which is so quick to help a fellow Tennessean or fellow American when they are in need. In the coming days, months and years it will take the helping hands of many to rebuild what was lost in the wildfire. Judging by the amount of phone calls and donations we have received, there will not be a shortage of people willing to help. I, personally, have spoken with people in California, Ohio, Kentucky, Georgia, and Mississippi who have asked what was needed and how they could help.
The relief efforts have been swift, and eventually the area will be more stable. Right now, there are still people searching for loved ones and firefighters still fighting the fires. I pray for the safety of all the missing people and the brave people fighting these fires. We are all Tennesseans and we are called the Volunteer State for a reason. When someone is in need or distress, we are there to lend a hand and help in any way we can.
In times like this it reinforces how great it is to work for an organization like Remote Area Medical. Many people are using us as an outlet to find out what is going on, what they can do to help, and where to send donations. We are not only an organization people look to for medical care at our clinics, but we also want to be a beacon of hope. Hope is a very powerful thing, and without hope we have nothing. Many people lost everything in this wildfire and have nothing but hope left. So, I hope the people of East Tennessee know that all the people at RAM will be working hard to help in this recovery process.