PDA Mission Trip #25 (Gatlinburg, TN): Day 5

This morning the Beards and Bastines cleaned much of the church in order to give the cleaning lady an easier day.

The city of Gatlinburg has installed warning sirens now!  Yeah!

A University of Tennessee biologist says that an old tree slice from the Smoky Mountains shows that it was burned from a fire every 16 or 17 years from the 1830’s to the 1950’s. The amount of dead branches, trees, and shrubs in the park has been building up. He does not believe that the November 2016 fire was a once-in-a-100-year fire; fires will happen there again.

The good news is that the codes in Sevier County require all Mountain Tough fire victims to clear out the dead trees on their property now. Mike has 100 dead trees, which Darryl says should fall in a year. They are far from his house. The priority for the tree cutters is to remove charred trees that could fall on newly rebuilt houses.

I mentioned the need for more flame-retardant siding and roofs, but was reminded that the fire was so hot that it melted glass and aluminum!

Noel and Betty have planted 39 new dogwoods and 1 redbud tree. The dogwoods alternate – one white, one pink, one white, one pink.

We volunteers are very enthusiastic about the heck of a lot of work that we accomplished! It was a treat to see the progress that has been made since last October on Noel’s and Mike’s houses! In the fall of 2017 one of our PDA teams had just started framing Noel’s house. Noel, who is living with his son, who is a city planner in Pigeon Forge, hopes to move back in in 2 months, although Fletcher says it will take longer. We admire Noel’s work ethic – he leaves his son’s house at 5:00 a.m. to start working on his house early in the day!

In conclusion, Darryl, one of our coordinators from Hearts in Action, texted, “Fletcher’s team is the best!”

“The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me, because the Lord has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, . . . to comfort all who mourn, and provide for those who grieve in Zion—to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes . . .” (Isaiah 61:1–3)

We look forward to helping folks again somewhere in early October possibly.  —Diane