Chambers County residents fill two semi tractor trailers with items to send to tornado victims in Lee County

Published 6:00 pm Tuesday, March 5, 2019

VALLEY — There is one thing that is certain about the Greater Valley Area — when one of their own or a neighbor is in need, the residents rally around them and provide as much demand as possible.

The residents of the area filled two 53-foot semi-tractor trailers in less than 48 hours with items targeted to help tornado victims in Lee County.

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On Monday, Valley High School Assistant Principal Casey Chambley put out the call for supplies to send to Lee County.

Tuesday as the two semis were about to pull out of the Valley High School parking lot, Chambley said the response from the region was “unbelievable.”

“I don’t know if unbelievable even matches it,” Chambley said.

Chambley said he didn’t expect anything less from the people of Chambers County.

“I think everybody always knows this area is going to respond,” he said. “You can look around when our teams play ball when they go play, the people travel. That shows they care about their community and always have.”

He said the people of this region care about what happens to other people.

“It has been such a tight-knit community with the mills, and it has always filtered out and when stuff happens to people — they come out,” he said.

Dustin duncan | Times-News helping in many ways: Michael Cliffton of West Point Industries hauls a pallet around the parking lot Tuesday afternoon.

Chambley said they weren’t able to collect any totals because donations were coming in fast and furious. However, it was broken down into seven categories: clothing, food, water, personal items, toiletries, paper products and bedding.

On Monday and Tuesday, there were tables with dozens of students taking time from the physical education hour to sort through items and clothing. This was done mostly under the direction of Valley High School teacher Laurie Phillips.

Chambley said Tuesday he couldn’t count how many cars and trucks showed up with new bedding and supplies by in large quantities.

“I’m not talking about a bag or two,” he said. “We were just hoping to fill one truck in two days.”

dustin duncan | Times-News loading up: Valley High School Assistant Principal Casey Chambley, West Point Industries employee Ronnie Yarbrough and City of Valley employee Terence Brown load some of the final items on a semi tractor-trailer to be sent to tornado victims in Lee County.

There were also several boxes set aside for the first responders in Lee County.

Outside of Valley High School, West Point Industries donated a forklift and two employees, the City of Valley donated several employees, JC Colley and Mr. Ice both donated a semi-trailer and drivers to the cause.

Dustin duncan | Times-News ready to drive: The semi-tractor trailer donated by Mr. Ice gets ready to pull out of Valley High School to head toward Lee County to drop off supplies to tornado victims. The company also donated a driver for the cause. JC Colley also donated a semi-tractor and a drive because the of the volume of donated needed to be delivered.

The supplies are going to the victims of Lee County and other counties which just suffered through the deadliest tornado in the U.S. since 2013.

The Sunday tornado killed 23 people and among those were four children ages 6, 8, 9 and 10.

The tornado was an EF4 with winds estimated at 170 mph and carved a path of destruction up to nine-tenths of a mile wide in Alabama, scraping up the earth in a phenomenon known as “ground rowing,” the National Weather Service said.

It traveled a remarkable 70 miles or so through Alabama and Georgia, where it caused more damage.

Ninety people were injured in the Beauregard area, authorities said. Most have been released from the hospital.

John Atkinson, public relations director and marketing director with the East Alabama Medical Center-Lanier, said the hospital in Valley received about 60 patients from the storm. He said the vast majority were treated and released and only four remained in the hospital Monday morning.

On Tuesday, President Donald Trump said he will visit Alabama on Friday to see the damage.

“It’s been a tragic situation, but a lot of good work is being done,” he said at the White House.