Local Youth Group Helps with Lincoln County Storm Cleanup

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LINCOLN COUNTY, Tenn. (WHNT) - Since the storms hit Monday, volunteers have come out in droves to help the victims recover. Whether it's taking donations or clearing debris, folks all across the Tennessee Valley are reaching out to show they care.

Slingshot Ministries, a youth group in Fayetteville, Tenn., drove through Lincoln County Wednesday, Thursday and Friday going door-to-door in search of victims to help.

"Everybody was ready and geared up to go out there and do the work because they knew it had to be done," said volunteer Nicholas Malone.

They piled into cars armed with food and chainsaws feeding victims and volunteers, as well as cleaning up debris.

"We were all muddy," said volunteer Bennett Self. "We were absolutely soaked. We stunk, but that was what really allowed us to do our part to be the good."

They also helped storm victims sift through the rubble to save personal belongings.

"I [didn't] feel like it's trash," said Malone, "but they all just want to get rid of it, so they can just start over. I just want to save every little thing I see because it used to mean something to them and it messes with me. It's just hard to see what they lived for, their life, just be bulldozed over."

At times the only thing the volunteers needed to do to help was offer a comforting embrace.

"There was a lady we walked up to today and one of the ladies in our group just walked over and hugged her and she just started crying," said Slingshot President Laura Self.

The Slingshot Ministries youths also volunteers after the April 2011 tornadoes, as well as 2013's Nashville floods. Their biggest takeaway from those experiences was that the storm victims will continue to need help for months to come.

"A lot of times they get left out there still with all of this stuff that has to be done and so they kind of get pushed to the side," said Self. "I would like to see us, as Slingshot Ministries, stay in it through the long haul and be back out in those areas asking people what can we do for you."

To learn more about Slingshot Ministries or to help in their tornado recovery efforts, click here.

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