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Roane Co. inmates help keep community warm | News

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Roane Co. inmates help keep community warm

(WBIR-Harriman) A new program in Roane County is catching fire due to the cooler temperatures, and it's enlisted some unlikely help.

The Roane County Highway Department regularly cleans up debris on the roads, including fallen trees.

Instead of taking the wood to a landfill, which costs $45 per load, Road Superintendent Dennis Ferguson decided to give it back to the community for free.

James and Linda Crabtree of Midtown have received a couple ricks of wood. They heat their home with the wood. James normally chops wood himself, but this winter he became ill and was unable to.

"We've stayed pretty warm; I don't know what we would've done if we didn't have it," Linda said.

The program also uses Roane County Jail inmates to help chop the wood.

"Let's do this-- let's talk to Sheriff Jack Stockton. He agreed to let us do it and his guys were excited about it too," Ferguson said.

The inmates chop the wood for free. Normally, two to four inmates work alongside the highway department's employees.

On Wednesday, two inmates helped chop the wood. The Roane County Highway Department was refilling their pile after a busy holiday season.

"They look forward to coming down here. They really do because they're getting out, they're getting to work, and they feel good about themselves being able to do something like this and give back to the community," Ferguson said.

The program started in the fall. Only Roane County residents are eligible for the wood.

According to Ferguson, there is no limit to how much wood someone can receive.


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