Mountain Tough rebuilds homes in the Smokies

GATLINBURG, Tenn. (WVLT)-- Only charred remains sit where a home once stood in the hills of Gatlinburg. The pieces to a family's new house are there, but they don't have the means to re-build.

"All of it sits right here behind me," said Barbara Joines, the executive director of Mountain Tough. "They have been through such a journey in this past year, to finally get to the point to move in their home — it, at times, can feel numb."

It's a story heard too many times traveling through the Smokies.

"It seems every corner you turn, you have someone sharing the story about how they were affected by the fire, or what they did to help," Joines said.

Mountain Tough stood strong through it all. They've helped several families clean up debris left behind. Four sites have been completely rebuilt with the help of volunteers.

But they've only scratched the surface.

"As people are finding out that they thought they could achieve re-building their home on their own, they now are not able to do it and they're seeking assistance," Joines said.

About 24 sites still are awaiting work from Mountain Tough, and more than a hundred sites are sitting for approval from FEMA.

While the job was far from done, hope sat on the horizon.

And when the Smokies are re-built, "I would hope that our job is done and that we've done it well," Joines said.

Mountain Tough needs financial donations, which can be made on the organization's website.