Wilson County Volunteers Create Care Packages For Gatlinburg Fire Victims

Posted at 6:06 PM, Dec 04, 2016
and last updated 2016-12-04 21:50:59-05

A small army of volunteers collected items like water, toothbrushes, diapers, and more to create individual care packages for those displaced by the Sevier County wildfires.

The project started as a Facebook post from Brook Uhls, the daughter of a Gallatin police sergeant.

"It was really overwhelming in a good way," Uhls said.

She posted a short list of items she'd accept on Tuesday. But Saturday, she and a few other volunteers had filled an entire building at the Wilson County Fairgrounds.

"It just took off," Uhls said. "We had to rent a U-Haul trailer to bring donations from Gallatin and Hendersonville to here."

Local law enforcement agencies, including the Wilson County Sheriff's Office, sent officers and inmates to help create the care packages and load them into trailers.

Volunteers were set to drive the donations to a church in Gatlinburg Monday morning.

"I'm sure once we get there and visualize the damage and see these families and what they're dealing with, it's going to be heartbreaking. It's going to be really tough," said volunteer Kevin Jones.

Jones and several other will begin the drive to Gatlinburg around 4:00 a.m. Monday.

They said they hope to return home and begin collecting building materials to help rebuild homes lost in the fire.

"I'm a Tennessean," he said. "That's what we do. That's what we do, we help our own."