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Former Lady Vol loses home in Gatlinburg fire

Rhiannon Potkey • Dec 1, 2016 at 12:30 PM

KNOXVILLE (TNS) – The house was nearly pitch black from losing power and all Lisa McGill Reagan could see were balls of fire flying through the air, igniting everything in their path.

Reagan and her husband, Beville, ran out the door, jumped into their truck with their six dogs and fled their neighborhood on Highway 321.

“I looked back and the whole mountain below our home was burning,” Reagan recalled on Wednesday morning. “I told my husband, ‘We won’t have a home when we get back.’ “

Reagan’s fear was realized. Her 7,000-square foot home burned down on Monday night in the Gatlinburg fire as did her oldest son’s home. Her mother and youngest son’s homes were spared.

Born and raised in Gatlinburg, Reagan played basketball for the Lady Vols from 1976-79 and was also on the UT swim team. She was inducted into the Greater Knoxville Sports Hall of Fame in 2008.

Reagan helped establish the Pat Head Summitt Scholarship fund, which supports academic scholarships at UT. Reagan has been leaning on her Lady Vols and UT network for support as she begins the rebuilding process.

She’s received calls from women’s basketball coach Holly Warlick, athletic director Dave Hart, former men’s basketball coach Bruce Pearl and numerous former teammates.

“The response from my Lady Vol family has been amazing,” said Reagan, who recently completed a two-year term as the president of the UT Letterman’s Club. “Pat created a sisterhood and all of us are so very, very close. We help each other when the chips are down. Even though there are only 168 of us, we all rally around each other.”

Reagan considers her family fortunate. Her house is covered by an insurance policy and her family owns cabins in Pittman Center. She and her husband have relocated there along with her son’s family, which includes his wife and two children.

“We will be fine. We are blessed beyond measure. We have got resources that so many others don’t. I just pray for the people that don’t have the money to even buy a mouthful of food. I can’t imagine,” Reagan said. “My daughter-in-law is a school teacher and she is devastated because there are children in her class they send food home to on the weekends and they are starving right now.”

The Reagans own several businesses and properties in the Gatlinburg area, including the Brookside Resort.

“That is standing and that is fine,” Reagan said. “From what we know, our other rental properties are intact. We used to own the Castle downtown and that was destroyed.”

Reagan’s former Lady Vol teammate, Suzanne Singleton, said she was “devastated and heartbroken” after hearing the news about Reagan’s home.

“It’s just hard to comprehend that everything she has is gone,” Singleton said. “Lisa is one of those people that has always been there for me if I needed anything. She would give me the shirt of her back and she would do that for just about anybody. She has donated to the Lady Vols and UT.”

Singleton has been attempting to set up a donation fund for Reagan and other Gatlinburg families.

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