Those impacted by the March 3rd tornado received a letter Wednesday outlining the process for distributing $1.5 million from the Cookeville-Putnam County Tornado Relief Fund.
Committee Chairman Dr. Bob Bell said more than 1,000 citizens along the highway 70 corridor exist in the county database.
“We think we’ve got a simple process, one that will will treat people fairly,” Bell said. “And that was the charge from the from the mayors when when we first met.”
Residents impacted need to fill out a simple two-page form over the next two weeks. That form can be downloaded at PutnamCountyTN.Gov. It must be completed by April 21. Anyone impacted by the storm who did not receive alert from the county’s emergency management agency Wednesday, should get registered with the county as soon as possible, Bell said.
After verification of the data, Bell said the committee will look at five major areas.
“Health and damage to health, including death,” Bell said. “And then next, damage to the home and residents. And then the contents of the home and residents. And then damage to other properties. Not at home, but maybe a barn or another building. And then a question on ownership, was someone renting the home? Or did they own it? So in many cases we’ll find the person that owned the home, lost their home, but someone else was living there and they lost maybe all of their belongings in that same facility. So those are the big five big picture items.”
The amount of money a survivor received from FEMA or other sources will be a factor in the committee’s decision-making. However, Bell said it will not eliminate anyone from receiving money.
Bell said the committee will evaluate the applications and make cash disbursements quickly.
The committee work, Bell said, has been tough, though not as difficult as those on the front lines.
“We’ve had to think through hard questions when we know,” Bell said. “There were injuries, many, many more than we can address with this fund.”
“We want them to know the county, the city, the community here really cares. We wish we could replace what has happened and just get them back to before that. We know that’s not possible. I lost my house and all my belongings to the fire less than two years ago. So I’ve got personal experience going through this.”
Bell said residents who need help filling out forms can get assistance through the Volunteer Office at the Putnam County Fairgrounds.