Stars of hope pop up in Gatlinburg neighborhood

Jan. 31, 2017: As rebuilding continues across Sevier County, an act of kindness is boosting morale in one Gatlinburg neighborhood.

SEVIER COUNTY - UPDATE: Since first publishing this story, we have learned that the stars popping up in the Chalet Village neighborhood came from a disaster relief and community arts program called Stars of Hope. 

The program sent 300 stars to Pi Beta Phi Elementary, Arrowmont School of Arts and Crafts and Chalet Village. Survivors of the 9/11 attacks and the San Bernadino and Orlando shootings made some of the stars. 

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These inspiring words can be found in the Chalet Village neighborhood of Gatlinburg.

"As we were driving up we noticed the stars,” said Tony Fessel.

Chalet Village area was one of the hardest hit spots during the wildfires at the end of November. While the devastation is still very obvious, signs of encouragement are scattered all around.

Messages written on decorated stars have been posted along the roads and in front of home sites.

Among the gray, rubble and rust, the stars are bright colors of comfort to Tony Fessel and his wife Beverly.

"It’s just nice that people would do something like that,” said Beverly.

“Anything like this is inspirational and helps us a great deal when we get negative the situations, makes us very positive,” said Tony.

Like many Gatlinburg homeowners, the Fessels are met with an empty lot.

“It was a tough loss for us, and many of our neighbors,” said Tony, “We have so many memories of three generations in our house.”

The Fessels send their thanks to the kind soul who made their trip to the neighborhood a little bit sweeter.



“Whoever is responsible for this I give them a vote of thanks for doing anything you can to encourage people to rebuild after this disaster.”

Outside of their home is a star with the word “pray."

"When we got up here and saw pray on ours really fitting, really touching" said Beverly.

“And meant a lot because we have done a lot of praying in this process, very appropriate and meaningful for us," said Tony.

It is still unclear who was behind the thoughtful gesture, but it is clear they are uplifting the community.

“It gives us a good deal of hope and encouragement for what might happen on the mountain for us,” said Tony.

© 2017 WBIR.COM


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