For survivors of the Gatlinburg fires who've been waiting for word on their homes in area shelters, it's been a long and devastating week. But they got a reason to smile on Wednesday morning.

Vols quarterback Josh Dobbs, lineman Brett Kendrick and several UT cheerleaders made a surprise visit to the shelter at Rocky Top Sports World.

Dobbs was immediately recognized and swarmed by excited kids and some adults. The group spent time with the fire victims, sharing hugs, signing autographs, taking pictures, and listening to their stories.

The group from UT also spent some time sorting through clothing donations, and visited with firefighters who were taking a short break from the front lines, thanking them for their hard work and calling them heroes.

One of the Red Cross volunteers also works at UT. She was Dobbs' English teacher, and she called to ask him to come life the spirits at the shelter.