County officials give storm relief update
by James Phillips
May 17, 2011 | 2345 views | 0 0 comments | 9 9 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Ongoing disaster relief efforts were discussed by several county officials during Monday’s meeting of the Walker County Commission.

Walker County Emergency Management Agency director Johnny Burnette said the county is firmly in the recovery process at this point.

“Some things are slowing down, but other things are needing to be done,” he said.

Burnette said the EMA’s distribution center has been closed, but supplies are available if they are needed.

“We’ve closed down at our site, but if people need things, all they have to do is contact us and we’ll get it to them,” he said. “Anyone with a request or need should call EMA at 205-384-7233.”

Burnette told commissioners that the Alabama National Guard had been demobilized and that officials with the Federal Emergency Management Agency have called the relief efforts in Walker County “incredible.”

“I’ve talked to several FEMA folks that have been amazed by everything that has been accomplished here,” Burnette said. “They said for a county of our size with our resources, that the work that has already been done is incredible. I told them that is our people in Walker County. When something needs to be done, they do it, and they don’t wait on someone else to do it for them.”

Walker County Commission Chairman Bruce Hamrick said he has been awestruck by the amount of volunteerism seen throughout the county since the tornadoes struck on April 27.

“The outpouring from people has been greater than I’ve ever seen,” he said. “It is humbling to see the amount of help that neighbors are giving to neighbors. I thank God that we live in a community that pulls together when we need to pull together.”

County engineer David Edgil said the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has begun clearing roadways in Walker County. He said the debris cleanup will begin in the harder hit areas and then move to other parts of the county.

“They have 13 crews here working,” he said. “Everyone just needs to be patient and they will get to each area as soon as they can.”

Christine Wilson has been volunteering her time to reunite animals with their owners after the storms. She said a large group of volunteers have a capacity to hold 70 animals at the Jasper Jaycees Fairground and are available 24 hours per day. She said anyone with questions about the group should contact 205-388-4516.

“We’ve been able to reunite several pets and owners so far, and we are going to continue to try to find owners for the pets we have,” she said.

In other action from the meeting:

•Commissioners approved a $10,000 U.S. Department of Homeland Security grant agreement.