City meeting today to discuss relief effort in Sylacauga
by Matt Quillen
May 02, 2011 | 1810 views |  0 comments | 7 7 recommendations | email to a friend | print
SYLACAUGA — City officials announced their plans for a coordinated disaster relief effort to aid victims of the deadly tornadoes that struck Alabama.

Mayor Sam Wright said at the city council work session Monday a meeting for city leaders and representatives from businesses and faith-based organizations is scheduled for 10 a.m. today at J. Craig Smith Community Center. He said the purpose of the meeting was to create “a more concerted and focused effort” to help.

“The city of Sylacauga wants to step up to the plate in more ways than one, doing what needs to be done for the people that have suffered so from the tornadoes,” Wright said.

He said people at Sylacauga Alliance for Family Enhancement had already been contacted by a similar group in Tuscaloosa asking for supplies. Also, Interim Fire Chief Jon Williams reported to the council to of the city’s firefighters were going there as part of a decontamination unit, helping with the water supply.

Cass Curtis, a Sylacauga High School graduate, also attended the meeting and is helping to coordinate between the two cities. The University of Alabama freshman witnessed first-hand the destruction caused by the tornado and was forced to take cover under his home as it passed by.

Wright said he had talked to the EMA and also planned to send people and equipment, including a loader truck, from the city to Pleasant Grove as well.

“The good thing about the cities going over and helping, it’s a lot different than just us going over to cut trees and help,” Wright said. “They are going to take the equipment and they know how to operate the equipment.”

Chamber of Commerce director Carol Emlich-Bates passed along information from the Business Council of Alabama at the work session, including contact information to several programs.

People who want to volunteer or make donations can contact the Governor’s Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives at 1-877-273-5018 or www.servealabama.gov.

Those with questions regarding state and government assistance can call the Governor’s Recovery Response Center at 1-866-465-2241.

Also, Attorney General Luther Strange stated his office would “be vigilant in protecting citizens from those who might exploit the tragedy for illegal profit.” To report alleged fraud or illegal price gouging, contact the Attorney General’s Office of Consumer Protection at 1-800-392-5658 or www.ago.alabama.gov.

Contact Matt Quillen at mquillen@dailyhome.com.