Eastern Tennessee counties need volunteers following the Sunbright tornado


SWEETWATER, Tenn. (WVLT) – As first responders and volunteers continue to clean up the aftermath of an EF1 tornado that ripped through Sunbright, others in East Tennessee are taking a closer look at their disaster response plans.

While counties have staff and volunteers ready to respond at a moment's notice, organizations like the American Red Cross also have volunteers on standby. In Monroe County, the Red Cross only has four volunteers in the event of a disaster, so it has set up shop at Sweetwater City Hall to recruit more.

“We are faced with a major disaster in the United States about every 10 days,” said Christian Mcdonald.

As people across East Tennessee saw the news in Sunbright, they were compelled to help in any way they could.

“Just being able to be there when people are in the moment when they need a friendly face and a calm voice, and being able to leave. I’m here to help you and what you need from me,” said potential volunteer Rebecca Woods.

Woods has experience as a crisis management social worker and volunteers with the Red Cross in case a disaster occurs near her home in Monroe County.

“East Tennessee is a very special place. I know we always joke that they never say I'm from Tennessee, they say I'm from East Tennessee. We just stand out from the rest of the state and it shows in the volunteer work,” Woods said.

During Thursday's recruitment event in Sweetwater, the Red Cross signed up two more volunteers. They go through a background check before being confirmed as a volunteer.

If you are interested in volunteering and being prepared for potential disasters in the area, you can click this link to learn more.