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  • Students organize Inky Johnson speech to Gatlinburg wildfire first responders

     Inky Johnson, Students organize Inky Johnson speech to Gatlinburg wildfire first responders

    GATLINBURG (WATE) – It’s been just two months since the wildfires in Gatlinburg tore through thousands of acres, and the men and women who were first on the scene got a well deserved thank you Tuesday at the Gatlinburg-Pittman High School.

    “It’s a well-deserved honor for all the first responders I mean they did such a tremendous job during the fires, they deserve to be honored,” said Sevier County Mayor Larry Waters.

    Dozens were honored and, more importantly, thanked for their heroic actions, especially the night of November 28 and the days that followed.

    “A lot of times it goes unrecognized how important they are to saving lives and saving property and they certainly put themselves on the line to do that,” said Waters.

    Sophomore Alyssa Champagne and her sister started what is now called the Confidence Academy at Gatlinburg-Pittman with the hopes of bringing confidence and motivation to their peers.

    “After the tragedies of the wildfire in Gatlinburg everyone was pretty distraught with everything that had happened and around the same time we saw Inky Johnson appear on ESPN with his story about his motivational speaking,” said Champagne.

    That’s when she (Champagne) thought getting some of those first responders in the same room with motivational speaker Inky Johnson could help with the healing process.

    “It does feel good and it’s amazing, just the walk coming into the school here today you had the students holding up banners just supporting us,” said Lt. Steven Ebb with the Gatlinburg Fire Department. “The love and support from everyone has been amazing.”

    “There were hundreds and hundreds that came from all over, I mean everybody came to Gatlinburg’s aid and it was an amazing thing to see and to experience and we thank each one of them for everything they did for our city,” said Gatlinburg Mayor Mike Werner.

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