SOUTH PITTSBURG, Tenn. — While recovery efforts from the July 10 flood that devastated most of the town continue, city leaders and residents paused recently for a community prayer service at the Princess Theatre.
WRCB’s David Carroll worked in radio in South Pittsburg early in his career and helped emcee the event Thursday night.
“Never take living in South Pittsburg or Marion County for granted,” he said. “It’s special. I really feel like I owe South Pittsburg something. This is where I got started. I love this town, and I love its people.”
Mayor Jane Dawkins thanked the countless people and organizations who have contributed to the cleanup efforts around the city and said Public Safety Director Dale Winters and City Administrator Sammy Burrows have been instrumental in reacting to the crisis.
“We all sort of fell into our assigned responsibilities,” she said. “We worked together as a team. My dad told me a long time ago that to be successful you have to surround yourself with successful people. We have definitely done that.”
Paul Robinson, one the city’s longtime residents, remembered the flood in 1973 when he and his family had to be rescued from their home by boat.
“That was a very scary sight, let me tell you,” he said. “I was very scared at the time because I was really young. I remember that flood well.”
Robinson said his family lost everything back then, but he doesn’t look upon it negatively anymore.
“I also remember how God restored everything that we lost fourfold,” he said. “What He did way back then, He’ll do the same today.”
It’s a shame that it took a disaster to bring the community together for a prayer service, Robinson said.
“I know that some people downtown lost a whole lot of stuff, but I just believe in a restoration God,” he said. “You have to trust him. Don’t forget to pray. Don’t forget to pray for South Pittsburg because we have to be restored.”
Dawkins encouraged residents to remember the feeling of fellowship that has permeated the town over the last three weeks as the city gets back on its feet.
“Please know that I love you, and I love South Pittsburg without question,” she told those in attendance. “God has blessed us in an incredible way. Don’t ever forget that. Always walk with pride when you tell someone you’re from South Pittsburg.”
Ryan Lewis is based in Marion County. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.