Groundbreaking for first Gatlinburg house this week

Groundbreaking for first Gatlinburg house this week

Volunteers begin cutting the lumber for new homes at The Connexion over the last two weeks.

SEVIERVILLE, Tenn. (April 23, 2017) – Two big events are happening this week that will press fast-forward on the partnership to build 25 homes for low-income survivors of last year’s Sevier County wildfires.

On Tuesday, April 25, leaders of the participating organizations will celebrate groundbreaking on the first home to be built in Gatlinburg. Mountain Tough Recovery Team is organizing the event with Appalachia Service Project and Holston Conference.

On Saturday, April 29, Volunteer East Tennessee is organizing “Community Build Day” to frame the first walls for the new homes. The event will be held at The Connexion in Sevierville from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Holston Conference will serve as the host for its partnering organizations. Openings for the April 29 event are still available for volunteers in different roles at this registration page

"On Saturday we will be putting together all that pre-cut lumber to frame the walls for eight homes," said Mollianne Hubbs, Holston wildfire response coordinator.

For two weeks, Holston volunteers have been preparing for Community Build Day by pre-cutting lumber for the new house frames, Hubbs said.

Team leader openings exist for experienced volunteers. General volunteers will not require construction skills. Hammers, nails, and tape measures will be provided. 

In March, Holston Conference announced that it would show gratitude for the nation's outpouring of donations for Gatlinburg wildfire relief by pouring the funds back into new homes for survivors.

With a total $414,521 received in donations to date, Holston has advanced the first $125,000 to Appalachian Service Project to finance the construction project.

Area United Methodist churches with facilities to house incoming work teams are requested to contact Hubbs at (865) 268-9453 or

On Nov. 28, 2016, a fire that started in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park was pushed by strong winds out of the park and into Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge, Tenn. The fire killed 14 people and destroyed more than 2,800 buildings in Sevier County.



See also:
Holston gives $125,000 to build wildfire donations to build homes (3/20/17)

Previous stories about Holston's response to the 2016 fires



Annette Spence

Annette Spence is editor of The Call, the Holston Conference newspaper.