UT’s IPS Consultants Lend Hand in Tornado-Hit Counties

KNOXVILLE -– Consultants with the University of Tennessee’s Institute for Public Service are helping the residents of Dyer and Gibson counties recover from the recent destructive tornadoes.

Consultants in the IPS offices in Jackson typically spend their days advising city, county and business leaders on everything from tax codes and public works to industrial process improvements. Since the tornadoes hit, they have set aside some time from their normal duties to help residents clear their properties of debris, assess damage and advise community leaders on recovery and rebuilding.

Municipal Technical Advisory Service consultants David Angerer, Steve Wyatt and Dick Phebus, along with Center for Industrial Services consultants Mike Simmons and Keith Groves, visited the cities of Bradford and Dyer to help residents and officials. The group was accompanied by Dr. Robert Hayes, director of the UT Institute of Agriculture’s West Tennessee Research and Education Center.

Phebus said the Bradford city hall, police station, lift station, parks and recreation facilities, senior citizens center and water plant were damaged. He said it was easy to see the path the tornado cut through town, and both he and Angerer said they were amazed to see thousands of trees reduced to “stubs sticking out of the ground.”

According to Bradford officials, 23 homes and three businesses were destroyed, and about 500 homes were damaged. The associated job losses may have a significant impact in the small town of about 1,200 people, Angerer said.

In Dyer, the consultants helped clear trees in a residential area.

“We worked with neighbors, church groups and community members. Everyone was helping in some way,” Angerer said.

Angerer said MTAS consultants will help document the cities’ losses and assess any damages that were not immediately apparent. The assessments and support will enable the cities to obtain relief funding from state and federal emergency management agencies.

Contacts:

Amy Blakely, (865) 974-5034, amy.blakely@tennessee.edu

Queena Jones, (865) 974-1533, queena.jones@tennessee.edu

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