After viewing storm damage of Harris and Talbot counties by helicopter Monday morning, Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp did an on-the-ground tour of the damage caused by a tornado in Talbotton and declared a state of emergency for Harris, Talbot and Grady counties.
While in Talbotton, Kemp viewed the damage caused by the storm and talked to local officials as well as folks impacted by the storm, speaking to them outside of their homes as they cleaned up and in the temporary shelter that has been set up at the Central High School gym.
Ray Jenkins, one of the people that Kemp spoke to, was out of town when the tornado hit. His neighbor had called to let him know that his house and cars had been destroyed.
Jenkins said that he and his wife had a long process ahead of them but there was a bright side “It’s a blessing. It’s really a blessing because if we were here we wouldn’t be here.”
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Throughout the day, you could see people crossing the street ready to lend a hand in the clean up process and to bring food or water to those out in the cold working on picking up the pieces of their homes and lives.
At the press conference in Talbotton, Kemp said, “The response from the local community from their neighbors down here has been fantastic — everyone pulling together.”
Leigh Ann Erenheim, director of the Talbot County Emergency Management Agency, said on Monday morning there were no reported fatalities for the county and seven injuries associated with the tornado.
“I do consider us very blessed with what we have, unlike Alabama and the things that happened to them, so I consider that the Lord had his hand on us, watching out for us,” Erenheim said.
In addition to the shelter being opened in the gym, Erenheim said that donations will be taken up at the Talbotton Fire Department.