The Ashland City Mayor is being singled out for leadership following last May’s flooding. Gary Norwood will receive the Phoenix Award from the U.S. Small Business Administration, which makes low-interest loans to pay for repairs after disasters.
Ashland City’s largest employer took on six feet of water as the Cumberland River rose well above its banks. Damages to the A.O. Smith water heater plant totaled $67 million. Facing the loss of 1,200 jobs, the Small Business Administration says Mayor Norwood worked with state and local officials to encourage the company to stay and rebuild. He helped A.O. Smith secure permits needed to get the plant operational.
For what the SBA calls his “display of resilience and dedication to the recovery of Ashland City,” Mayor Norwood will be honored in Washington D.C. next month.
At the same ceremony, the SBA will honor a Tennessee resident for his volunteer efforts. Larry Silvey of Millington is a retired Navy master chief and building contractor. With a makeshift headquarters in a neighbor’s front yard, he organized teams of plumbers, electricians and laborers and rebuilt 200 homes. They had logged 10,000 hours of free labor just seven weeks after the storm.