By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great local journalism.
Companies come to aid of tornado victims
Tyson, utilities among those who are helping
Placeholder Image
Forsyth County News

Want to help?
Mickey Hyams and Associates will be collecting supplies for Alabama tornado victims today at the office, 514 Lake Center Pkwy, Suite 201. He and his staff will later be collecting for residents of Ringgold. For more information, contact Hyams at (404) 435-3400.

Despite the destruction from recent tornadoes, John McBrayer said there was an overwhelming sense of appreciation in the small Alabama town of Ider.

McBrayer, human resources manager at the Cumming Tyson Foods’ plant, was one of eight employees who volunteered to spend several days cooking for tornado victims and emergency workers in Georgia’s western neighbor.

He and other Cumming team members were stationed on a baseball field in Ider, cooking more than 700 meals each day on a large grill.

“People there were very, very thankful and surprised Tyson was there because we don’t have any farms there,” McBrayer said.

McBrayer said he and his fellow workers spent up 14 hours each day “scrambling around” to find groceries to supplement the team’s portion of some 240,000 pounds of chicken and tortillas Tyson Corp. donated to relief efforts and cooking and serving meals.

According to a news release from the company, Tyson also donated about 150,000 pounds of ice and more than 140,000 bottles of water for relief efforts after devastating tornadoes ripped through Alabama and parts of north Georgia on April 27.

Tyson isn’t the only Forsyth County business helping out.

Georgia Power spokesman Jeff Wilson said the company sent a number of crews to Georgia towns impacted by the tornadoes.

“We first sent crews to help the northwest quadrant of the state get their power back on,” Wilson said.

The utility then sent about 1,000 workers to Alabama to assist its sister company, Alabama Power, restore power to some 400,000 customers in that state.

Wilson said about 100 of the workers came from the metro north region, which includes Forsyth and north Fulton counties.

“Our crews spent almost a week over there helping to get power back on,” Wilson said.

Jessica Baker with Sawnee EMC said the corporation has also pitched in.

She said employees took up donations for the family of an employee of Amicalola EMC, headquartered in Jasper.

“They live in Pickens County and their home was destroyed,” Baker said. "The only things they had were the clothes they had on when they escaped."

She said Sawnee employees raised about $1,400 and collected office supplies, clothing, gift cards and household items for the family.

“That was all just the employees as individuals giving,” she said.

As a corporation, she added, Sawnee also provided equipment and support to some EMCs in Alabama.  

Like Sawnee, James Foskett, human resources manager at Belk in Lakeland Plaza, said employees at the local store have taken up collections for their fellow company employees.

“We’re giving to other Belk employees and their families impacted by the storms in Alabama,” Foskett said. “The funds we collect go to our corporate office and are then channeled to the people in Alabama who need it.”

Foskett said employees have held several collections among themselves and will hold another this weekend.

Mickey Hyams, owner of Mickey Hyams and Associates of Keller Williams Realty, wanted to help after a friend and client from Alabama needed a large truck to haul supplies.

He said his friend will be driving the truck to towns in need Friday morning.

Anyone who wants to help can bring donations today to Hyams’ office at 514 Lake Center Pkwy, Suite 201.

Hyams said some of the items being collected include towels, bug spray, sunscreen and school, office and medical supplies. Also needed are baby formula, diapers, bottled water, soap and hand sanitizer, clothing, non-perishable food items, batteries, flashlights and gift cards.

He said he joined with Coal Mountain Elementary School, which collected a number of supplies.

After the truck returns from Alabama, Hyams said he will then work on gathering similar supplies to take to the northwestern Georgia town of Ringgold, which was also hard hit by a tornado.

“As soon as the truck gets back and we have enough stuff to fill it again, we’ll be going to Ringgold,” he said.

Hymans said he wanted to assist those in need simply because he was asked.

“I have friends and clients with connections to Alabama and Ringgold. They asked me if I could help, so I said I wanted to help,” Hymans said.

Other businesses had similar reasons for helping.

“We just helped them out like they would help us out if we needed it,” said Wilson of Georgia Power.

McBrayer, with Tyson, said helping out in Ider, Ala., was a “wonderful experience.”

“Everyone came away feeling really good about what we had done,” he said. “You see something like that on TV and think it’s really bad, but when you see it in person it has a real impact because you get a real sense of the loss.”