Grindstaff nears goal of obtaining ladders for EHDA housing

Published 7:00 pm Tuesday, April 3, 2018

A goal over a year in the making is nearing its conclusion.

County resident Emma Grindstaff recently announced the Safekeeping Project in Honor of Dana and Sara was recently able to purchase 107 mobile ladders that will be used for the second level apartments located at Pine Ridge Circle.

In conjunction with the Elizabethton Housing and Development Agency (EHDA), TLC Community Center, Elizabethton Fire Department and Big John’s Closeouts, Grindstaff has been working across the county to raise funds as a way to honor the life of Dana and Sara Keeling. Grindstaff is the mother and grandmother of the Keelings, who lost their lives in an apartment fire at Pine Ridge Circle.

Subscribe to our free email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

“It’s an incredible feeling,” Grindstaff said following the announcement. “We’ve only got 43 more ladders to go.”

Over the course of a year, Grindstaff has stayed busy raising awareness for fire safety and has organized various ways to remember the lives of Dana and Sara. One of the more popular projects Grindstaff was able to organize is an annual blood drive with the American Red Cross. The initiative is to remember Dana’s dream of becoming a phlebotomist.

After working with the different entities, Grindstaff learned that the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) would allow EHDA to have mobile ladders at each apartment.

After receiving the greenlight, Grindstaff worked with various volunteers to raise funds. Along with a raffle, Grindstaff utilized methods via social media to obtain funding.

Grindstaff added the project only needs a little over $1,000 to complete its goal.

“It has been a long time coming,” she said. “Each day I think of the tenants at Elizabethton Housing. I would like to say thank you for everyone that has donated and to Mike (Barnett) with Big John’s and Angie (Odom) with TLC.”

To learn more about the project or make a contribution, individuals can visit or search “Safekeeping Project in Honor of Dana and Sara Keeling” on Facebook.

The TLC Community Center is also accepting donations on behalf of the project. Individuals can mail donations to 145 Judge Don Lewis Blvd., Suite 5-7, Elizabethton, TN 37643 and are asked to make a memo on the payment to make sure it is going to the safekeeping project due to an account being set up specifically for the funds. Each donation is tax-deductible.