FBC leads church storm clean-up

Severe storms that hit the Choto Road and Northshore Road area Saturday night, May 27, left five trees — including two large ones — either snapped off or uprooted and laying in Mary Attkisson’s front yard for nearly a month.

“I had so many downed trees on my property from the Memorial Day weekend storm,” said Attkisson, a Nighbert Lane resident in the Choto area while reflecting on her problem before help came about four weeks later. “I’m a single woman and the expense of bringing a tree service in to do this was beyond what I could do. Even though I had several family members who helped me, I had two huge trees that were beyond what we could do. One was uprooted and one was partially down.”

But on Saturday, June 24, her problem was solved. Members of three Baptist churches showed up in her yard with chainsaws, a Bobcat and a dumping trailer.

Her friend, Veronica Robinette, a member of First Baptist Concord, had told Attkisson about the church’s service outreach program.

“I told her about our chainsaw ministry,” Robinette said. “She lost five trees in her front yard, including two massive oak trees, and didn’t know how she’d get them out of her yard. It was pretty devastating for her.”

Attkisson said the First Baptist Concord team was joined by teams from Powell and Chattanooga, with Concord coordinating the effort.

“We helped them clear brush and move wood,” Attkisson said about herself and her son. “It was a lot to do — seven hours — but we got it done.”

On the same day, Robinette also had a dead tree removed by the Concord team.

“I’m very thankful for them because they blessed me with their services and it was something I couldn’t afford otherwise. It gives me a peace of mind knowing that tree is gone,” she said.

“They put me on their list and they were here Saturday from 10 [a.m.] to 5 [p.m.],” Attkisson said. “By the end of the day everything was removed. That ministry is such an example of God’s teaching of love and grace. They really were an answer to my prayers. It’s quite a ministry. I was blown away by it.”

Just as the Concord team was finishing up, they showed her an interesting piece of handiwork: three crosses etched in the clean-cut stump. Attkisson said it was very meaningful to her because it symbolizes the words “In His service” — exactly what the teams were doing.

She wasn’t at home when the storms hit the Farragut area about a month earlier.

“I was about 15 minutes away,” Attkisson said. “I tried to come home. However, every route I could take was impassible with downed trees such as Martel, Virtue Road, Northshore Drive and Choto Road.

“I’m sure if I had been home and heard all the falling trees, it would’ve been terrifying,” she added. “Plus, power poles had been snapped in half and we were without electricity for about three days.”

Attkisson and family members cleared out all the fallen limbs they could before the church assistance came calling.