TV/music celebrities bring attention to hometown tornado needs in Georgia

Actor/entertainer Randall Franks, “Officer Randy Goode” of TV’s “In the Heat of the Night,” gave American Idol ®

American Idol finalist Lauren Alaina and actor/entertainer Randall Franks prepare to take a tour to raise awareness about the needs in their home community.

finalist Lauren Alaina and her family a tour of the tornado devastation in the home community they share in Catoosa County, Ga.. The American Idol crew taped scenes for Alaina’s hometown feature which aired May 19.

The former NBC and CBS star, who made appearances for the Grand Ole Opry ® for 13 years, said he hopes the Idol exposure and recent attention focused by “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition” while highlighting Catoosa’s Sharrock Family will help Ringgold and Catoosa County raise the monies needed to help the uninsured and underinsured rebuild their lives.

“So many people across the region were affected by the storms and tornadoes on April 27,” he said. “We lost nine neighbors that night. My home was spared from the devastation that many of my neighbors faced. As I rushed door to door to check on my neighbors, climbing over and under trees, power lines, and the rubble that once was homes, I wondered how we could ever make the community whole again.”

Thanks to the foresight of community and business leaders, churches, civic organizations, the community has created Catoosa Organization Acting in Disaster (COAD), with an existing community non-profit 501-C-3, to lead the effort of rebuilding for those without or with little means, he said.

“I hope that those who might wish to help will reach out with a tax-deductible donation to help bring a new normal for our neighbors,” Franks said. “While the numbers are still being tabulated on how many houses the organization will have to help build or repair, it is safe to say a million dollars is needed to help. Initial numbers show more than 600 homes were hit that night.”

Send tax-deductible donations to Catoosa Organization Acting in Disaster (COAD), P.O. Box 53, Ringgold, Ga. 30736 or visit for more information. Locally donations may be made at Capital Bank, Community National Bank, Gateway Bank and Trust and Northwest Georgia Bank. For information about COAD, call (706) 935-2109.