FEMA funds granted to Troup County following tornadoes; Community rallies together

Published: Jan. 17, 2023 at 6:00 PM EST
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LAGRANGE, Ga. (WTVM) - Just last week, strong storms and tornadoes ripped through parts of our area, heavily affecting Troup County.

Two tornadoes touched down, tearing apart the community. Tuesday night, federal funds were approved to help, and community members are continuing their clean-up and recovery efforts.

“We haven’t been able to sleep since this has happened,” Alisa Winston told News Leader 9′s Ashlee Williams. “At night, we toss and turn. We have our moments when we reflect back, of course. It’s a long road ahead. We’re just uncertain as to what’s to come.”

Derrick and Alisa Winston’s house in the Lexington Park neighborhood in LaGrange is now uninhabitable after a tornado destroyed their home. They said they heard what sounded like a train when both bunkered down, then a few seconds later, discovered a tornado had ripped their home apart. So much so, they can’t walk through it to see what is left.

Both are staying in a hotel for the time being, which Ms. Winston said is hurting their wallets.

“... still having to make our mortgage payment and everything... along with bills and other expenses,” she said.

Troup County Emergency Management Director Zac Steele explained a team from the Federal Emergency Management Agency will be arriving to Troup County Wednesday to assess damage and calculate how much money will be given to the county to help with repairs.

But for now, Steele said the process is in its early stages.

“We’ll be publishing that information from FEMA and GEMA on exactly how the contact process will go,” Steele said. “There will be flyers sent out. A lot of our social media outlets we’ll be using to share that.”

Meantime, Senior Pastor Michael Jackson of Confidence Missionary Baptist Church in Lagrange is teaming with community leaders to provide some relief. Volunteers are busy collecting and distributing items such as toiletries, totes and cleanup supplies.

“If you only see the smile on people’s faces when they come in,” Jackson explained. “We’re able to pray with them. Some were hurt, but they come in here and find hope and joy and that they can go on.”

The Winston’s are taking advantage of this community help: “We’re just trusting and depending on God. We’re praying that everything will work out for our good. The only thing that we know to do is put our faith and our trust in God.”

Confidence Missionary Baptist Church volunteers are working each day at the church located at 705 Colquitt Street in LaGrange.