"What we've seen is a lot of power lines down, a lot of trees down," said The Salvation Army's Cartersville Corps Capt. John Fuller, who -- with two other volunteers -- served sandwiches and refreshments in the Pine Log area. "We saw two houses out there totally destroyed, actually one just has a few walls up, the other one was totally gone. And this was the [most amazing story]. I don't know what Joe's last name was. He had about a 60-foot-trailer. He was in it last night. It blew him up against a tree, totally destroyed the trailer. He got out of that, found his flashlight. They found him, took him to the hospital and today he's back home.
"Tell me if that's not a miracle happening, where that guy, his [entire] home is totally destroyed. You would not even know it was a house today. And [it] rolled his pickup truck over who knows how many times -- the storm did -- and it ended up against his porch. That's what we've seen -- a lot of destruction, a lot of houses that were totally ruined or houses that are partially ruined or tops of houses missing."
Unlike Thursday, Fuller will be utilizing a mobile canteen today, which will enable him to provide hot food to the Pine Log region. With the roads becoming more passable, he also believes the volunteers will be able to reach more people across the county.
While Fuller is out in the field, clothes and monetary donations are being accepted at The Salvation Army's office at 17 Apex Drive in Cartersville.
"Right now that's about all they need," said Capt. Nancy Fuller with local Salvation Army. "As far as furniture, that might be down the road, but [right now] they have no place to put furniture. Their homes are completely gone. We haven't [had many calls about donations] but United Way has."
United Way President Brenda Morehouse is encouraging residents to deliver monetary donations as well as contributions of food, beverages, generators or hygiene items to her office at 140 Douglas St., Suite 104, in Cartersville. Also assisting Pine Log residents Thursday, she was amazed by the area's devastation.
"I'm heading right back out there," Morehouse said Thursday afternoon. "We're about to deliver 300 meals in combination with The Salvation Army and the emergency management team, the EMA. We're getting ready to all load up trucks. We've got donations ... [and assembled] about 300 meals together and we're meeting at 5:30 behind the [TA] truck stop off of the Cassville-White exit. We're all going to go out and deliver food and just try to get it out before dark.
"What the biggest concern is -- the immediate concern -- of course everybody is out of electricity. They have no running water. They have no food and some people don't have shelter. We're working on getting the food and the water. We're looking to get generators donated ... you wouldn't believe the damage. I was out there today, I was in Pine Log. Pine Log is a very, very small community. They're very tight knit and most of the people that live there have been there their whole life. That place is destroyed. It is destroyed. And people, they're like, 'I'm not leaving.' ... But these people are in need.'"
Morehouse said another one of the United Way agencies, the American Red Cross, is providing aid to those in need of shelter.
"You can get in touch with the Red Cross, especially if you do not have a place to stay because they can put you up in a hotel or give you a place to stay for three days, until your insurance kicks in or until you can get with family members. And then on top of that we're working with [the] whole sheriff's department and their emergency team on organizing efforts of volunteers because it takes a group of people to be able to get the meals out to these victims," Morehouse said, adding individuals who want to volunteer are encouraged to call Bartow County Emergency Management at 770-387-5089. "And that's a hard thing because it's hard getting the meals donated, so [we encourage] any company or people that want to step up and say, 'Hey, I can feed 100 people barbecue on Saturday night.' Then we'll need a group of people that say, 'Hey, we can get it delivered.'"
The community's willingness to lend a hand is evident by Cartersville Cares' Facebook page. After collecting donations Thursday, the group is meeting Friday, 8:30 a.m., at The Church at Liberty Square -- 2001 Liberty Square Drive in Cartersville -- to accept donations and prepare food to distribute.
For more information about donating to The Salvation Army, call 770-387-9955 or 770-386-6256. The Red Cross can be reached at 706-291-6648.