The Overton-Pickett County E911 Board met for the first time since the February ice storm.
Overton EMA Director Chris Masiongale reflected on the efforts during and after the storm to help the county. Masiongale said that throughout this time he never asked for assistance that someone was not willing to provide at a moments notice.
Masiongale remembered one instance while traveling during day three of the storm
“I ran across three pine trees fell right in front of me and blocked the roadway,” Masiongale said. “I made the call in here to the dispatch center and told them what had happened and that the road was blocked. Less than 15 minutes I had six firemen with chainsaws and buddy they went to work and cut that road out.”
Masiongale said the work did not end when the ice melted. He said the county received roughly 600 requests for assistance through the 403-HELP number.
“A lot of those, probably what we’re going to right now is from my understanding from the guys out of the road working all this, is that as they go about six out of ever 10 that they go to have already been cleaned up,” Masiongale said. “Neighbors have helped neighbors, as they should.”
Masiongale said it has not just been neighbors in Overton County communities. He said outside help, from New York to California and around the Upper Cumberland, stepped up for the county.
“Team Rubicon and Inspiritus and the Shriner’s Club up in Monterey have been here and helped clean,” Masiongale said. “They’ve done a little over 200 of those requests, just themselves. We had a big team, a big crew in here last Tuesday, we had 100 volunteers from Tennessee Tech.”
Masiongale said if there was job to be done, someone did it. He said no one ever had a power trip and no one ever put their agency above another.
“How many times would you see the Sheriff and the Ambulance Director and the Rescue Squad Captain and the 911 Director and the EMA Director answering telephones for public assistance?” Masiongale said. “Those agency heads, normally in big cities, of course would not be doing those tasks. So when your guys are out working, somebody has to answer the phones.”
Masiongale said he cannot praise the people who volunteered and continue to volunteer their time to Overton County.