Troup receives tornado reimbursement

Published 9:05 am Thursday, January 25, 2024

On Wednesday, the Georgia Emergency Management and Homeland Security Agency (GEMA) l presented a check to the Troup County Government for a reimbursement of funds spent for debris removal and emergency protective actions from the Jan. 12, 2023, tornadoes.

GEMA Director Chris Stallings and GEMA Grants Specialist Supervisor Dionne Askew presented Troup County with a check for $156,916.45 for tornado recovery reimbursement.

Troup Emergency Management Director Zac Steele said the funds are the result of the work of many individuals as part of the long-term recovery from the January storm.

“We know that you all put a lot of work into the Jan. 12, 2023, severe storms. We were there with you all from day one, so we know all of the hard work that you put in as far as trying to get this great county back to recovering from that event,” Askew said.

“I just want to thank Zac and his team, and everyone who played a part in this debris removal, emergency protection measures, projects, all the time that you all spent working with FEMA, formulating your projects, getting the documentation into FEMA so that you can get reimbursed,” Askew said. “Thank you for being patient with us as we work with FEMA on the back end to get you your funding.”

Stallings noted that when the storm hit, recovery funds would be coming, but it would likely take some time. Around a year later, he came through on that promise.

“I told you on the day of the storm, the only thing that happens fast is the storm. Everything else takes time, and here we are a year later,” Stallings said.

“Recovery efforts take a lot of time, a lot of energy and a lot of partnerships. FEMA can’t do this by themselves. We can’t do this by ourselves, and you can’t do it by yourself. But together we can try to make whole our communities and our citizens that have put us in the places that we are to make sure we’re taking care of them,” Stallings said.

Stallings said he was very happy to see the funds finally being disbursed to Troup County partially because he has family here.

“I’m extremely happy to see Troup County getting some money back,” Stallings said. “All my dad’s family is from, so I’m glad to see them recover. It means the world to us as well.”

Steele said this is likely the last of the recovery funds that the county will see from the 2023 tornadoes. Unfortunately, while the March 26, 2023, tornado more devastating in the hardest hit areas, the damage did not rise to the level of a federal disaster declaration, so FEMA funds were not available, Steele said.