The Mountain Tough Recovery Team broke ground Tuesday morning on the first new Gatlinburg home in its effort to help those still recovering from the wildfires in Sevier County.
The Mountain Tough team has partnered with the Appalachia Service Project and Holston Conference of The United Methodist Church to build 25 replacement homes within the next year.
The first home they are rebuilding belongs to Glenna Ogle.
"It's been a God’s blessing. Real excited, but I’m nervous," Ogle said.
Her home, which had been in her family since the 40's, was completely destroyed during the fires in 2016.
"The night of the fire, I told Him I was ready to go and I raised my hand, I said I don’t want to go this way because it was right in the fire, and He kept me here for some reason, maybe to meet you all," Ogle said at Tuesday's groundbreaking.
She lost everything but her life that night. She credits her faith for keeping her strong the past several months.
"I’m 76 years old, never had to ask for anything or get any help but now, I’m getting it from everyone," she said.
Ogle was one of the several people who turned over shovels of dirt at her property Tuesday afternoon.
"This is a long-term journey and community partnership," said Mountain Tough President Ellen Wilhoit.
The goal of Mountain Tough is to rebuild homes and provide other resources for low-income people and families who are uninsured or underinsured following the devastating fires.
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