Hunting & Heritage  |  04/26/2022

Answering the Call of the Community: Midsouth Tornado Relief Efforts

Staff Photo

Members of the Tennessee Quail Forever staff went into action helping their locally affected community

By Alex Tamboli

During the night of December 10, 2021 disastrous storms and tornados struck communities across the Southeast, with Arkansas, Tennessee, and Kentucky being among the severely impacted states. Right away, members of the Tennessee Quail Forever staff went into action helping in their locally affected communities, from clearing brush, to purchasing critical supplies.

However, there was one team member who went above and beyond the call. Jeremy French, Grassland Wildlife Biologist for Quail Forever and the Southeastern Grasslands Initiative (SGI) was that team member. He immediately went to work by coordinating with other organizations such as Backcounty Hunters & Anglers and Be the Village to raise approximately $3,700 that was used to purchase toys for children that were affected in the tornados. He didn’t stop there though: He donated an additional $500 of his own money toward the cause, bringing the total to an astounding $4,200.

All the while, he continued to coordinate with individuals, churches, and other nonprofits to secure hundreds of additional donations. Building on his work with Be the Village, he helped coordinate a two-day giveaway event in Dresden, Tennessee, where displaced residents could come “shop” for food, water, toiletries, and toys for their family to ensure that no child had to wake up Christmas morning without a gift from Santa. Signup sheets from the event show that toys were provided for 700 children in Dresden and the surrounding community.

Jeremy spent an additional two days of his time working in Be the Village’s warehouse helping to organize donations and set up for the giveaway event. In total, it is estimated that he volunteered roughly 50 hours of his time and was directly responsible for the donation of 1,500 toys, while coordinating with organizations and individuals in the affected areas of Dresden, TN, Mayfield, KY, and Princeton, KY.

Not only is Jeremy French helping to answer the Call of the Uplands, but he is also helping to answer the call of his community, showing that even in the face of disaster, there is always a way to lend a helping hand and make a difference.

Alex Tamboli is a Quail Forever's Tennessee Senior Farm Bill Wildlife Biologist.

This story originally appeared in the spring issue of Quail Forever Journal. If you enjoyed it and would like to read more great upland content, become a member today!