Following a visit to Lafayette, Tn., earlier today, U.S. Senator Bob Corker (R-TN) continued on to Jackson to view tornado devastation in the Huntersville community and on the campus of Union University.
He said, “Being in Lafayette earlier today and then in Jackson this afternoon has absolutely brought home – the way no pictures ever could – the incredible devastation these storms delivered to our state this week. There is absolutely no substitute for seeing the damage firsthand. Tennesseans have suffered tremendous losses and the message of today is we will not forget about you. Next week, next month, next year – as long as it takes – we will do everything we can to help you rebuild your lives and your communities.”
Sen. Corker’s tour began at Ararat Baptist Church where he was greeted by Pastor J.V. Davis, numerous members of the community, and volunteers aiding in the clean-up.
Sen. Corker was led on the tour of Huntersville by Joel Haynes, whose family has lived and farmed in Madison County for generations. Mr. Haynes lost his aunt in the tornado, and his mother is currently in intensive care as a result of the storms.
He then visited the campus of Union University where University President Dr. David Dockery showed him the collapsed dormitories that trapped students earlier in the week.
“I was emotionally overwhelmed when I saw the dorms,” Sen. Corker said. “It’s a miracle no one was killed when they collapsed, and as a parent of two daughters in college, I can only imagine how grateful their parents are feeling.”
Earlier today, Sen. Corker and Sen. Lamar Alexander joined President Bush for an aerial tour of the storm-damage in Macon County and a briefing from state and federal officials on regional recovery efforts. They also visited with survivors and recovery workers at a Lafayette neighborhood.
The two senators thanked Tennessee Gov. Phil Bredesen and President Bush for their quick actions in requesting and granting federal disaster aid to the state. President Bush has authorized federal aid for the five hardest hit counties in the state, making federal funding available to individuals in Hardin, Macon, Madison, Shelby and Sumner Counties.
The senators said they will continue to monitor the recovery and clean-up efforts and support Gov. Bredesen and other state officials in their efforts to gain additional federal aid for other Tennessee counties as damage assessments are made.
“Gov. Bredesen acted quickly in getting a disaster request to the President and the President acted quickly in signing it,” Corker said. “It’s evident on the ground that the response from the very beginning has been timely and cooperative, and that all of the entities involved are working together to get aid to Tennesseans who desperately need it. Sen. Alexander and I will continue working with the Tennessee delegation to ensure that we are pursuing appropriate federal resources. Our thoughts, prayers and support go to every Tennessean who has suffered because of these storms.”
Residents and business owners with losses in the designated counties can apply for assistance by calling 1-800-621-FEMA or by registering online at www.fema.gov.
Citizens are also encouraged to call Corker’s local office for assistance in navigating federal aid.