DENSO employees raise $25,000 for Gatlinburg relief efforts

MARYVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) -- DENSO employees from Maryville and Athens teamed up to raise $25,000 for the Gatlinburg relief efforts.

The two manufacturing facilities initiated a "Smokies Strong" t-shirt fundraising campaign that raised the $25,000.

The money is being donated to two organizations, Friends of the Smokies and the Gatlinburg Wildfire Relief Fund.

The checks were presented by DENSO employees Wednesday.

DENSO Employee Victoria Fry had family working in Gatlinburg when the wildfire evacuations began. "My daughter works for WestGate Properties and was onsite that day," she said. "We are so thankful that she was able to get out unharmed. I purchased a 'Smokies Strong' shirt at DENSO to support 'my people' as Dolly Parton calls them – after all, the people of Sevier County are my people and these mountains are my home, too. My husband and I are honored to be a part of the DENSO team and so proud of everyone who came together to make this donation possible."

In addition to the money raised by employees, the DENSO North America Foundation made a $25,000 contribution to the American Red Cross disaster fund to help respond to the Gatlinburg fires, the Athens tornado, and the Greenville, North Carolina, flooding.