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Former WCLTRG member and survivor ‘washes his hands’ of the group

Story by Shannon Taylor Senior Investigative Reporter

Former ex-officio member and survivor advocacy committee chair Mike Carroll requested a meeting with Weakley County Long Term Recovery Group to discuss reopening his case. Carroll lost his childhood home in the Dec. 2021 tornado that swept through Dresden. Carroll has been an advocate for survivor’s ever since and thought that working with the WCLTRG as a formal advocate for survivor’s would be the best place to help his community and for those survivors to get the help they need. However, Carroll stated that that is no longer the case.

Carroll said that shortly after he resigned from WCLTRG after being with them for 11 months and put a banner on his lot pointing out the lack of progress being made in our community following the tornado, he was approached by Justin Crice and members of WCLTRG to see what needs he had and how they could assist.

Carroll said, “I worked hard to assist survivors and I still do that today and I put my personal recovery on the backburner and I’m just now starting to work on some of that.” A meeting was held to address some of these issues.

“I’ve heard the phrase used I’ve washed my hands of something or someone and when I looked it up it said that you no longer believe in, or you no longer want to be associated with a certain group or individual. I think that’s the case. Today I washed my hands of the WCLTRG. I no longer want to be a part of, and I no longer believe in what they’re doing.”

Carroll further said that the CDC recommended washing your hands after going outside and Carroll said, “maybe I should have washed my hands of them before going door-to-door telling people how the WCLTRG was going to meet what needs that they have and how I was confident in the fact that in 3-5 years they would say that their needs had been met. I don’t feel that way today.”

Carroll said that he also thinks that he should have washed his hands from the group after the impression they gave individuals of how organizations had put their money together. Carroll said that now they are saying that they have no money, and every group has their own money. “Maybe I should have washed my hands when the story changed. Maybe I should have never gotten involved considering the fact that I was the only person on that committee directly impacted by the tornado and had a vote on nothing.”

Carroll went on to say that not one nail has been driven in for a house to be rebuilt by the WCLTRG and that they hired a program coordinator, Misti Pequignot, not from the area who makes close to $80,000 a year and is only in the area for 16 hours per week. “She’s going to make a big difference, I bet. That’s when I should’ve washed my hands.”

Carroll said out of all the times he should have washed his hands of the group, that it wasn’t until the zoom meeting was held that he decided that was the last straw. During the zoom meeting, Carroll said that members present were Alisa Melton, co-chair and allocations chair, Justin Crice, co-chair, and Robert Craig, ex-officio member and UMCOR consultant.

“When a chair of that group decided to excuse herself and made the comment that I had been disrespectful to the group, and I had made negative comments about the group ever since I had left.” Carroll denies ever saying anything negative regarding WCLTRG asserting that he has only questioned the progress and approaches.

Carroll said that what happened at that meeting was that Melton excused herself from the group while speaking with him, a survivor. “And she wants to give the impression that you are trying to help somebody? Now I feel like some of the others have felt. I can wash my hands today because I don’t need you for anything. Whatever I decide to do and put my mind to: I can do that. I’ve owned my recovery from day one.” Carroll said that he knows more about his recovery than the case managers hired would anyway. Carroll told the press that he thought Melton acted “very unprofessional” and stated that Melton said that Carroll had placed distrust in the group from the day he left and went to the newspaper. “She is under the impression I provided whatever documents the press was given.” For the record, the source that was a member of WCLTRG that provided the press with confidential documents was not Carroll.

Carroll stated that any assistance he might have received from the group, that he is fairly certain he would not be receiving it now. Carroll said that Craig had a stack of documents should Carroll decide to re-open his case that he would need to sign and agree to. One document had a section highlighted which indicated that he could not create a hostile environment with his case manager. What Carroll interpreted that as was “you can’t say anything negative about us or we can close your case. I wish you had told the people donating that money that we’re going to control it and if they say anything bad about us, they don’t get any of it.”

This certainly sets a precedent for survivors seeking help with the group that they could be told to sign and agree to certain documents if they want to receive help. This would certainly stop a lot of people from speaking out about anything negative related to WCLTRG and not provide the proper transparency the group has stated for a year now that they want to be as transparent as possible.

The press reached out to members of WCLTRG who responded with, “The Weakley County Long Term Recovery Group will not comment on specific survivor cases and will refrain from discussing survivor cases with a public news source.  Additionally, the Weakley County Long Term Recovery Group is here to partner in recovery with survivors of the December 10, 2021, tornado. If anyone impacted by that disaster has not been in contact with the WCLTRG for case management, or if they have immediate disaster related needs, they are encouraged to reach out for assistance. If survivors would like to inquire about their case, please call the helpline (615) 270-9255. For more information, please access our website at or”

Carroll responded, “If members of this group cannot comment on specific cases, I’m interested to know why they would feel a need to record. This was emotional for me because I expressed to WCLTRG how I lost hope and that their whole purpose was to assist with hope and healing.” Carrol said his promise to fellow survivors is that no organization will profit from the sacrifice of a survivor of the 2021 disaster.

This is a developing story.


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