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Track and field team raises money for Gatlinburg fire relief


Shown, from left, are SMRM board member Rev. David Lambert, SMRM Executive Director Bill Black, Sydney Spivey, TFS Athletic Director Scott Neal and SMRM board member Rev. Eric Spivey.

Photo: E. Lane Gresham/Tallulah Falls School

A desire to help the residents of the Gatlinburg area in the aftermath of the November 2016 wildfires prompted members of the Tallulah Falls School varsity track & field team to make change.

The team collected spare coins from students, faculty and staff, generating $500 to help those affected by the fire.

Sophomore Sydney Spivey led the initiative, “Change the Smokies,” with donations going to Smoky Mountain Resort Ministries.

“The smoky mountains have been a part of me my whole life,” Spivey said.

Her father, Rev. Eric Spivey, pastor at First Baptist Church Cornelia, worked previously as a minister in Gatlinburg.

The idea for the fundraiser first sparked during a conversation she had with SMRM Executive Director Bill Black when he was a guest preacher at First Baptist Church Cornelia earlier in the year.

“My Dad always me taught me to love the mountains and to show God’s love throughout the mountains,” she said. “We started out with a small goal of $’s going to do something great for the need.”

According to TFS Athletic Director Scott Neal, generosity is one of the GREAT attributes the school seeks to develop in the athletic program.  

“With Sydney's empathy and enthusiasm leading the way, the team jumped in to show support for our Smoky Mountain neighbors in a time of need,” Neal said. “We hope the action reflects our prayers for healing and wholeness and our desire to be part of a society that is always there for each other.”

SMRM has actively been working with and ministering to workers, employers, community leaders, guests, residents of Gatlinburg and national disaster relief agencies since the fire.

For more information about SMRM, visit Smoky Mountain Resort Ministries.

A glimpse of the damage in downtown Gatlinburg caused by the November 2016 wildfires. 

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