Some Workers Return To Storm Damaged Sawmill In Toone, TN

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

(Toone, TN) Some workers are finally back on the job after storms destroyed businesses in both McNairy and Hardeman Counties.

High winds from Jan. 30th's storm took out a lumber yard and sawmill in Toone, TN, leaving workers idle and hurting nearby businesses.

But business is slowly returning to normal at Tony Hooper's Sawmill in Toone.

Tuesday some of Hooper's workers got to go back to work at the 25-year old Hardeman County lumber company.

January 30th the sawmill was left in splinters after a powerful storm leveled four buildings, sent lumber flying and put 50-employees out of work.

Tony Hooper, owner of Hooper's Sawmill in Toone, said the shut-down was a hard pill to swallow, "Got guys that got families to support. And not being able to work, that's going to affect their lives."

Hooper put damage estimates then at half a million dollars.

The sawmill is an important part of the economy in Toone.

Jeremiah Wolff says everyone was affected when the storm shut it down,

"I thought it was horrible, you know. The people are already having problems keeping jobs around here. Works scarce, you know."

Wolff says almost everyone in Hardeman County makes their living off lumber, "They rely on these mills over here. That's pretty much...almost everybody around here works at a mill."

Alberta Wooden owns Aunt Berta's restaurant, right across the highway from the sawmill.

"I'd like to see everybody working. That's going to make my business better."

She said her business took a hit after the storm closed the mill.

She knows people without a job can't afford to eat out, so the sooner all the workers come back the better, "They hadn't hired all of them back. But they planning by the end of the week, was my understanding, to try to have everybody back in and working."

There were no injuries at the sawmill as a result if the storm.