President Bush declares Jefferson County disaster area

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News 12 at 11, March 23, 2008

MATTHEWS, Ga. --- President Bush said six more Georgia counties are disaster areas. One of those is Jefferson County. That makes federal funding available for people affected by the storms, and the county will recover 75 percent of the emergency response and repair cost. Matthews Fire Department Chief, Barrow Walden said the news from the federal government is a blessing.

"I was thankful. We really needed the help. He stepped in and we're going to receive funding from the federal government to help in the cleanup and to try and rebuild our community," Barrow Walden said.

And although it's been a rough week, they're making progress.

"This time last week it was just total chaos," Walden said.

And some of it still remains. Mt. Horeb Baptist Church, still in pieces. And of this house, there's only one wall left standing. The rest of the house, all over the place. Walden said the tornado also hurt their farming community.

"We had farms that were just leveled. Cattle that were injured. It's going to be a major strike to our crops," Walden said.

Walden said there were 12 homes in Matthews that were destroyed, and several of those were uninsured. And the government's help will make a major difference.

"It'll affect it tremendously. If we didn't get the help, we'd have help from the county with clean up but as far as being able to replace some of the loss property and provide for the community. The county wouldn't physically be able to do that," Walden said.

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