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Authorities offer aid
Help with efforts in Catoosa County
1 Tornado Help pic1
Chief Danny Speaks with Dawson County Emergency Services and K9 Liberty search a debris pile on Hwy. 151 in Catoosa County. - photo by For the Dawson Community News

Local family in need


Sarah Burnett and her family lost their home and all their belongings in the storms.


Burnett works at the Big Canoe Property Owners Association.


Those who want to help her family with donations of food, clothing or toys can drop off items from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday at the Big Canoe Lodge.


For monetary donations, make checks payable to Sarah Burnett and drop off at the lodge, 10586 Big Canoe.


For more information, call (706) 268-3346.

Following the devastation from last week’s violent storms in northwest Georgia, more than a dozen local emergency and law enforcement officials journeyed to Catoosa County to lend a helping hand.


A large tornado with winds of 175 mph ripped through Ringgold and neighboring areas April 27, killing eight and injuring at least 30 people, according to the National Weather Service in Peachtree City.


Capt. Jason Dooley traveled to Catoosa County with fellow Dawson County Emergency Services staff to look for survivors and to recover those who died.


“There were still reports of missing people in that area, so we were searching for survivors,” Dooley said. “Our team did recover two deceased persons in that area.”


Dooley said he has worked several severe storm cleanups.


“But this by far was the worst damage ... the worst destruction I’ve ever seen,” he said.


The effects of the storm were breathtaking, he added.


“The only thing left of a lot of the houses was the foundations ... there were tractor trailers that had been ripped apart, hotels, restaurants and gas stations totally destroyed.”


Dawson County Sheriff’s Capt. Tony Wooten joined other authorities in the effort.


“We went to Ringgold to help patrol as a law enforcement presence,” Wooten said.


“It was total destruction everywhere you turned,” Wooten said. “Total disaster. Most of the businesses and houses ... they’re going to have to start completely over.”


Wooten said he saw only one gas station in the city that was still operational.


“Every other commercial store or business in that area is probably gone,” he said.


Wooten said eight law enforcement officials spent about nine hours patrolling the streets.


“We just wanted to help out how we could,” he said.


According to the National Weather Service, the tornado touched down at 8:15 p.m. April 27 in Catoosa County, cutting a path 13 miles long through the small city.


It was estimated that 75 to 100 homes were destroyed.


Donations for victims of last week’s storms are being collected locally at Grace Presbyterian Church in downtown Dawsonville.


Items accepted include canned food, bottled water, disposable diapers and wash cloths.


For more information, call (706) 216-7747.