Local News

With help from Dolly Parton, Gatlinburg works to rebuild

Posted December 15, 2016

— The victims of the Tennessee wildfires are getting a big financial boost thanks to country music legend Dolly Parton and friends.

Parton says Tuesday's star-studded telethon for those affected by recent wildfires in her native Tennessee brought in about $9 million. The total is expected to rise in the coming days, though, as mail-in donations are counted and the telethon is rebroadcast.

The money will provide $1,000 each month for six months to families who lost their primary residence in the fires.

Despite the massive fires that damaged 17,00 acres of land and 2,400 homes and businesses, the city is working to bounce back.

In a neighborhood northeast of Gatlinburg, an area largely laid waste by the fire two weeks ago, one resident, Reverend Ed Taylor, was killed in the fire. His body was found outside his home.

Fire is so thoroughly destructive that residents found precious little to salvage from the ruins.

Volunteer organizations, such as Team Rubicon, are clearing away debris and cutting down blackened trees. Team Rubicon has volunteers from across the country doing cleanup and recovery work around Gatlinburg. Teams from Tennessee Baptist Disaster Relief are also in the stricken neighborhoods.

One of the homes destroyed belonged to Gary Moore. He and his wife, Charlotte, were in Florida when the fire raged, only to come home to see their dream home devoured by a nightmare.

"(The home) meant the world to us," Gary Moore said. "My wife had gotten cancer in 2005. We put our business up for sale in 2009. This was her dream home. This is where she wanted to be and where she wanted to die."

Moore bought the home in 2003 and made considerable renovations over the years. He was able to salvage his dog tags from the time he served in the Army, along with some gold and silver coins, but everything else was destroyed.

He does plan to rebuild, though—this spot is too special not to.

For now, like many other people who lost their homes, the Gary and Charlotte Moore are staying in a cabin near Pigeon Forge.


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