The Rev. Ken Coomer of the Adairsville Church of God, who has been leading the Bartow Recovery group, told community business leaders Thursday that 700 students from Berry, Shorter, Kennesaw State and even Lee University in Cleveland, Tenn., are expected to be among the volunteers Saturday.
“We hope to finish removing every piece of debris, then we intend to start rebuilding houses,” he said.
Coomer was among a number of community leaders who spoke at the Adairsville Council of the Cartersville-Bartow County Chamber of Commerce breakfast in Adairsville Thursday morning.
“The recovery, it’s moving at light speed,” Adairsville Police Chief Robert Jones said.
He said there has only been one theft incident during the aftermath of the storm, and that was someone who was stealing fuel from a vehicle that had been damaged by the tornado.
The police chief extended thanks to his staff and to all the law enforcement volunteers who flooded into Adairsville after the tornado ripped through the city.
“Things took place automatically; these guys reacted on their own,” Jones said. “They relied on their training.”
City Manager Pat Crook told the crowd that the damage to a large water tank was something that is not going to get fixed quickly.
“Peaks and valleys of water pressure (for residents and businesses) are going to be part of the routine for a while,” Crook said.
Mayor Evan King issued thanks to everyone who had helped with the cleanup, specifically listing the city of Cartersville, Bartow County, the city of Rome and Floyd County governments for providing assistance.
He also said the state Department of Transportation and Department of Corrections have gone above and beyond the norm in helping the cleanup.
“I know it’s a little crazy to see inmates out there with chainsaws,” King said. “I look at this as an opportunity to renew and rebuild and do it better.”
Coomer said that after one last cleanup blitz this weekend, the attention will be turned to rebuilding people’s homes and lives.
“If you’re hurting, if there’s a problem, we’re going to try to fix it,” Coomer said.
Volunteers are asked to meet Saturday between 8 and 8:30 a.m. at the Adairsville Church of God, U.S. 41 North.
Chamber officials passed an offering bucket around the room and collected more than $800 from business leaders to help with recovery expenses.