Wednesday, November 30, 2016


JFK+50:  Volume 7, No. 2145


Gatlinburg, Tennessee (JFK+50) Sometimes it is so easy to take things in life for granted. For us, Gatlinburg* is one of those things.  We were raised and still live less than 25 miles from the little resort town millions from around the country and the world visit each year.  This past Monday night Gatlinburg came close to being wiped off the map.

Wildfires, fueled by months of drought and 80 mph winds, spread quickly from the Chimney Tops of the Great Smoky Mountains and threatened the town as 14,000 people were forced evacuate.  A few didn't get that chance.  More than 700 buildings were damaged in the city and nearby Pigeon Forge.

Today it was announced the death toll has risen to seven and more than 50 people have been injured.  The city of Gatlinburg has been closed down and a curfew put in place.  Governor Bill Haslam said that it is the worst fire in the state in 100 years.  Photographs of smoldering businesses, houses and cars make the town seem to be in a war zone.

Firefighters, first-responders and Red Cross personnel have been at work 24/7 since Monday night.  The city's mayor lost both his home and his business.   

Please, along with us, pray for the city and the people of Gatlinburg, Tennessee.

*Gatlinburg is a mountain resort city located in Sevier County of Eastern Tennessee.  It is 39 miles SE of Knoxville and its 2012 population was 4047.
The town was settled by veterans of the Revolutionary War & War of 1812.  

In 1856, a post office was established in the General Store of Radford Gatlin and the town christened Gatlinburg.  Ironically, Gatlin, a Confederate sympathizer was forced out by pro-Unionists in 1859.  Gatlinburg's history as a resort town began with the establishment of the Great Smoky Mountain National Park in 1934.


"Gatlinburg fires:  Death toll rises to 7," by Jason Hanna, Artemis Moshtagian, Max Blau & Darran Simon, November 30, 2016, CNN,

John White with VOLS football players
Gatlinburg, Tennessee
December 2015

Gatlinburg, Tennessee
From Pancake Pantry (2016)