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Doughertys say thanks for help received in wake of tornado


When an EF2-level tornado wreaked havoc along Highway 307 in the Athens area of East Tennessee on the morning of Wednesday, Nov. 30, the home and dairy of Blan and Kathy Dougherty were heavily damaged, and caring and concerned members of the Co-op family wasted no time in pitching in to help the couple not only recover but rebuild.

Now, the well-known dairying Doughertys are saying thanks in an open letter to “Whom It May Concern.”

“The first [storm] came on the morning of Nov. 30 when a tornado started at one end of our farm and ended at the other,” Blan explains in the letter. “In its wake, it destroyed nine barns, two sheds, and one mobile home. We ended up having to euthanize one milk cow and sell all the others. Miraculously, there was no loss of human life. It only lasted a few minutes but ultimately caused the premature end of a lifestyle that we both loved.”

The second “storm,” Blan added, started within a few hours: “It began when family, neighbors, friends, acquaintances, and people we didn’t even know began to show up to help in the recovery. This storm lasted for weeks, and we will never be able to repay the generosity and time that these people expressed. Now, as Kathy and I adjust to our new normal, we wish to take time to thank all of those.”

Two organizations in particular, he stressed, were “instrumental in our recovery. One is our Co-op, AgCentral [Farmers Cooperative], whose management and staff spent countless hours with cleanup, advice, and support.

“The other organization has been Tennessee Farm Bureau. They have gone beyond our expectations in accommodating our claims and settlements. Their prompt and courteous service has made much of our recovery possible. Thank you.”

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