Sevier County TN Fire Recovery Update…
Rev. Robert Portier of St. Paul Lutheran in Sevierville, TN recently shared this encouraging update on progress being made in the relief and recovery effort following November’s wildfires in and around Gatlinburg:
Greetings in Christ,
It is with heartfelt thanks that I send out this recovery update. We have received prayers and gifts from our brothers and sisters in Christ all over the country; for this we are very thankful. It is estimated that the fire storm caused $500 million in property damage last month. However, our community is recovering nicely due to the outpouring of kindness and love from our neighbors both near and far. While property loss was high, due to the quick actions of our local officials, loss of life was low. However, we still have some 900 families in our county that have lost their homes. While there are many systems in place to help our neighbors, our congregation is doing our part to help with unmet needs. We are privileged to be partnered with Smoky Mountain Area Rescue Ministry to help with interim housing and utility costs. As of yesterday (12/27), we had almost $11,000 raised for that purpose, due to the generosity of our friends and neighbors far and near. We will be able to help our hurting neighbors with these physical needs, while praying with and for them in this recovery effort. Thanks to all for your prayers, kindness and generosity. And have a blessed Christmas and New Year.
Please keep this community in your prayers as they continue to rebuild following this tragedy. Donations to the wildfire relief effort can still be sent to:
• The Mid-South District (1675 Wynne Road / Cordova, TN 38016) designating “Gatlinburg Relief Effort”
• St. Paul Lutheran Church (1610 Pullen Road / Sevierville, TN 37862) designating “Sevier County Relief Fund”
The saints of Saint Paul Lutheran Church are well and helping our neighbors.
- Gatlinburg plans to open this Friday at 7 AM (12/9/16).
- The 2 Red Cross shelters are now housing around 50 (135 at Rocky Top & 16 in Pigeon Forge)
- Homes destroyed approximately 1450 (full time residence / vacation rentals it not yet know)
- other structures destroyed or damaged approximately 350
- 14 dead and 70 missing. -These #s are all estimates based on various sources
- for locals who want to volunteer the below site has a link for you to sign up
- and up-to-date list of needs can be found at www.rotarydistrict6780.com
- this will be my last update on county information as they have established a website that answers all these questions and others about the 2 resource centers, the 2 shelters, and the volunteer resource center. That site is:
If you are interested in sending funds to help families in need there are 4 funds on the above site. If you wish to do so through our church here are 3 ways.
a. Send the funds to LCMS disaster relief and designate the funds for Tennessee Fires Attention Rev Michael Meyer. Sevier county fire relief.
b. Send the funds to the Mid-South District office and designate the fund for Sevier county fire relief.
c. Send the funds to St Paul Lutheran Church Sevierville TN and designate the funds for Sevier county fire relief. You can do so online by going to (connect) then (give donation) then follow the instructions. Right now you will have to select “other” and designate it for “Sevier County Fire Relief” until we have a chance to set up a special line item with that title.