University joins in Sevier County relief effort

KNOXVILLE — Recent devastation from wildfires in the Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge area resulted in widespread relief efforts for victims who lost their homes and property.

Johnson University has joined in the effort to provide relief and continues to offer students, faculty, and staff the opportunity to get involved.

Monetary donations are being accepted at the receptionist’s desk in the PW building for two Johnson graduate students, Jeannie Renfro and Christen Salter, who lost everything in the fire.

Dave Wheeler, Associate Dean of Students, has asked that checks be made out to “Johnson University” with “Church on a Hill” written in the memo line.

Julee Schultz, Director of Undergraduate Admissions, is accepting clothes, pillows, towels, and blankets in her office in the EAC.

The donations will be brought to LIVE-IT Ministries in Seymour and distributed in shelters across Sevier County to victims of this tragedy.

Schultz explained that she wanted to spearhead this collection because she has family in the Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg areas.

“They’re fine, but being from that area it’s near and dear to my heart so I want to help in any way I can,” she said.

Schultz also encouraged students, faculty, and staff to think about donating small appliances and household items which will help victims longterm.

“It’s not just now, it’s not just through Christmas, its ongoing. People are going to need to rebuild their houses and they’re going to need help.”

Schultz said she does not have a deadline on the collection but mentioned that people can also donate to the Red Cross by texting REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation or by visiting here to donate a different amount.

Dean of Students, Dave Legg, has offered Clark Hall as a  Red Cross Shelter although it is not clear yet whether it will be used.

The Tennessee Emergency Management Agency reported in their latest update that approximately 1,100 people are currently seeking refuge at three Red Cross shelters across the affected area and over 14,000 people have been forced to evacuate Gatlinburg.

See more ways you can help by visiting the Sevierville Community Center Facebook page here or WVLT’s Gatlinburg relief effort list here.

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