Loudon County Emergency Workers help victims rebuild lives | Volunteer Spirit
wvlt.com-KNOXVILLE, Tenn. They're known as heroes; firefighters, police officers, and other emergency responders who will put themselves in harms way for others. It's not their bravery that sets a group of emergency responders apart in Loudon County. It's their compassion and Volunteer Spirit.
As a firefighter, Brandon Roberts has a stressful job.
"You try hard not to take it home with you," he says.
Unloading a donation into a warehouse near his home, he says that all changed about two years ago.
"The original vision was to be a ministry for emergency responders and their families," says Roberts, the Minestry Director for Loudon County Emergency Responders for Christ. "They're dealing with these people at the worst times of their lives."
Loudon County Emergency Responders for Christ did not take long to turn into something more than a faith based support group. After just a few months they noticed their own neighbors needing to start over.
"We can start having some things on hand, and in the middle of the night, no matter where it is we can have immediate clothing, shoes, things like that for these families, because sometimes they make it out with just the clothes on their back," says Roberts.
Most recently the group found themselves short on needed items for a family and made a public request.
"Once it went out on Facebook, it went viral. It was shared over 450 times, and had over 25,000 views," says Roberts.
"My phone rang off the hook for two days! There is so many bags that have come in over the past couple of days I haven't even gotten to go through them, and that's what we're working on throughout the day. Getting these bags sorted, and into the right areas," he says with a smile.
This is usually a group of volunteers, between 30 and 35, that like to give back after they clock out. Not just fire fighters, but police officers, EMA, EMS, dispatch workers. Any one who likes to join this ministry and give back to those who may have lost everything in a matter moments.
"We want to be able to have clothing on hand. We want to have bedding, towels, and washcloths. Things like that that we can get out to these families," says Roberts. "It may not be a fire. It might be a tornado storm comes through, floods, or a disaster like that."
It's a good start for heroes who know the real work starts when the emergency is over.
The Loudon County Emergency Responders for Christ invites anyone to join. You don't have to be a first responder. If you wish to donate clothes, money, or other supplies you can get their information on their Facebook page.