TELLICO PLAINS (WATE) - Monroe County was hit hard by Friday's severe storms, and the Tellico Plains community came together Saturday to clean up debris.
The severe storms destroyed five homes and damaged at least 25 others. Even the youngest of volunteers pitched in to help. Eight-year-old Miguel Ellis picked up debris all day.
"I've been picking up roof parts, metal, concrete," said Ellis.
He was with family in his home as the storm hit.
"It sounded like a train rumbling. All the clouds were coming and circling and it was coming down as it was circling," said Ellis.
According to officials, two people suffered minor injuries in the storm. Hundreds of people lost power. Utility crews worked all day trying to restore the power. Only residents, business owners, emergency personnel and volunteers are allowed in the area as clean up continues. Russ Parks has been assisting in recovery and clean up efforts since the storm hit.
"The state and local road department is coming in. We're going to try and clean up debris and keep people from trying to loot it," said Parks.
The storm uprooted trees, brought power lines down, and flattened homes. But even with all the destruction many residents are still thankful.
"I've got a big gapping hole that it rained in last night but the things that are important are still intact so none of us have a scratch so I'm very grateful," said Valley Nelson.
The community still has weeks of clean up ahead, and 8-year-old Miguel Ellis says he'll continue to help.
"I feel sorry for the community. I hope it gets cleaned up," said Ellis.
If you would like to volunteer in the clean up effort you can stop by the command center at Tellico Plains High School. Monetary donations can be made to the Monroe County chapter of the Red Cross. The New Providence Baptist Church is collecting supplies.
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