Sullivan teen, sheriff’s office team up to help tornado victims

Nick Shepherd • May 31, 2013 at 11:25 AM

One local teenager wants to help the people affected by the tornado in Oklahoma, and he just got a very strong ally to collect donations for him: the Sullivan County Sheriff’s Office.Nishan Singh is a 14-year-old high school student at Dobyns-Bennett. He first heard about the tornado on the way to school and when he got home later that afternoon, he turned on the television to see the extent of the damage.“I came home and did some research and looked at some pictures and it was horrifying because everything was destroyed,” he said. “The pictures of those little kids in the school almost made me c r y. ”Seeing the damage hit close to home for him. Nishan’s (pronounced na-Shawn) grandparents lived in New Delhi, India, when a tornado struck there and destroyed everything.Nishan’s grandparents talked about the tornado all the time and would say how donations would have helped the people affected, Nishan said.

“They had talked about how their house was destroyed and a lot of the damage,” said Nishan’s mother, Sunitee Singh. “So it was pretty devastating to lose everything that you’ve lived and acquired all those years.”Because of his grandparents, Nishan felt compelled to help the victims in Oklahoma. So he asked his parents what he could do to help.

His parents suggested he make a flier asking for items to send to the families of Oklahoma and pass it out in the neighborhood, and that’s what he did.One of those fliers made its way to the SCSO and the department was excited to help.

“Sheriff Anderson was really impressed by Nishan and how passionate he was about putting this project together,” said Leslie Earhart, public information officer for the SCSO. “We think it is a great idea and we are glad to help in any way we can.”

The SCSO will accept any donations Monday through Friday during normal business hours at its office at 140 Blountville Bypass, Blountville, Tenn.

Acceptable items for donation include clothing, shoes, books, toys, housewares and linens.Even before the SCSO got on board with Nishan, the family’s garage had already started filling up, starting with items from the family’s own home. The Singh family members have been cleaning out their closets and have filled about 10 trash bags full of clothes ready for donation. Even though the whole Singh family is helping, this is Nishan’s project.“We’re still in the supporting stage with however he wants to do it,” said his father, Dr. Paul Singh. “He has to make the decision. He takes the phone calls, he is calling people in Oklahoma and trying to get things arranged.”Nishan is talking to a number of groups in Oklahoma trying to figure out the best place to send the items.To find out more information on what items are needed most you can call Nishan at (423) 276-1503 or email helpingoklahoma13 ? @hotmail.com ?Nishan’s parents are proud of him for taking the initiative to help.“We’re proud of him,” Dr. Singh said. “If he’s thinking like this at the present time, hopefully he will keep on working on at this.”

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