A Personal Account of One Tennessee Family's Harrowing Experience—And a Message of Hope

Fire firefighters have battled more than 20 large fires in Gatlinburg, Tennessee within the past 36 hours. More than 15,000 acres have been scorched, 14,000 people have been evacuated and at least 250 buildings have been damaged or destroyed.

Greg Ruff, who's father-in-law was evacuated while the house across the street burned, talked with Glenn on radio Wednesday about his family's harrowing experience.

"He's safe now, but he doesn't know if his house is gone. He's an artist. His home, after his wife passed away just a few years ago, turned into an art gallery that he lives in, out on Northern Creek. And, you know, all of his original art may be gone. All of his memories. All his kids' memories where they grew up may be gone," Mr. Ruff said.

RELATED: Terrifying Video of Evacuation From #Gatlinburg Fire Goes Viral

In the midst of the tragedy, Mr. Ruff also offered a message of hope that came directly from his father-in-law.

"He just kind of . . . he paused and says, I'm grateful for my life. I've had a good life. I'm glad I'm alive. That stuff doesn't matter. And, you know, that's the kind of stuff we need in our world today. And people like you and your radio program, your TV program, Mercury One, and the people that work for you that are encouraging that type of stuff . . . I just want to tell you I appreciate it, and I appreciate what you're doing," Mr. Ruff said.

For a status of the situation in Tennessee, visit MercuryOne.org/wildfires where you can also make a donation to assist those suffering from these historic and devastating fires.

Enjoy this complimentary clip from The Glenn Beck Program:

Below is a rush transcript of this segment, it might contain errors:

GLENN: Fire firefighters now are battling more than 20 large fires. The last 36 hours, more than 15,000 acres have been scorched, 14,000 people are -- have been evacuated from Gatlinburg, and at least 250 buildings have been damaged or destroyed, 100 of those are in Gatlinburg. People are in bad shape. And Mercury One wants to be there. We're going to -- well, I have some ideas on some things that I want to do, and right now, Mercury One is planning on being out there I think later this week. No one is being allowed in, except for the firefighters now.

But Mercury One is going to be on the scene soon, and we want to do something. And hopefully I'll have more on that tomorrow. But if you'd like to donate, you can go to mercuryone.org. Mercuryone.org.

Here's what is happening. The wildfires quickly grew on Monday night, due to the high winds. There were winds up to, what, 85 or 87 miles an hour. Those are hurricane force winds.

JEFFY: Absolutely.

GLENN: They caused trees to fall, into live power lines, which sparked new fires. The fire actually started -- they say that it was human-caused. We don't know what that means yet. This is, to me -- and I say this cautiously because it might have been somebody just flicking a cigarette out the window.

JEFFY: And they have arrested a couple people earlier this year on arson charges. So --

GLENN: Yeah, it may be arson. But if you look at what's happening over in Israel, Israel is getting pounded by fires set by terrorists. And this has been one thing that I have -- I thought of oh, I don't even know, maybe in 2001 or 2002.

I remember, Jeffy standing together in Tampa saying -- California. I mean, if I'm a terrorist, I come to California. I just set it on fire, and that's easy to do.

And that's what they're now doing in Israel. And I hope this isn't the condition in Gatlinburg.

We have -- we have Greg Ruff on the phone with us now from Gatlinburg. Greg, how are you, sir?

GREG: I'm doing fine. I'm doing great.

GLENN: Tell me what your situation is.

GREG: Well, our situation is my wife's father lives on Northern Creek, just outside of Gatlinburg. And he was -- he had surgery a little over a week ago for cancer and was at home, getting ready to go to bed. And had heard about the fires, but just was going to go to bed.

Well, his stepdaughter, one of -- my stepsister works for the park service. She called him and said -- knowing that he doesn't have a cell phone. He's an artist, and he kind of lives in his own world a little bit in that sense.

And said, no, you're not going to bed, you're going to leave. And so he started packing up. As they did, police were outside, clearing the street.

And he's still gathering things, and they're like saying, "You've got to go." And they looked, and the house just on the other side of his is up in flames. There's fire across the street of a one-lane road going into mountains is on fire.

And so he -- he -- you know, he has been evacuated. We have him now safely. You know, he has a little bit of memory issues. And we were really concerned about that.

But we have him. He's safe now. But he doesn't know if his house is gone. He's an artist. His home, after his wife passed away, just a few years ago, turned into an art gallery that he lives in, out on Northern Creek. And, you know, all of his original art may be gone. All of his memories. All his kids' memories where they grew up may be gone.

GLENN: Oh, my gosh.

How is your house? Where do you live?

GREG: I do not live there. I live in Nashville. And we went to go get him. Went in there. They let us get in and get him. And then so we have him. And we're trying to find a way to get back there.

His sister -- his daughter, I should say, his daughter-in-law who works with the park service, they thought they had lost their home. They found out they did not lose it.

Five people who work for the park services have confirmed they'll lose their home. And so they have to continue to work.

Last night, they had tornado warnings in Gatlinburg. They're like, "Please, no, it's raining. There's tornado warnings." And people were out -- my wife's sister-in-law's husband works for the city. And he was out at a blockade, you know, in -- uncovered in tornado warnings with rain pouring down all around and fires still burning. So it's been -- it's been very hectic to go through all that.

GLENN: Greg, our thoughts and prayers are with you and the family and everybody in Tennessee, wherever you are. And we wish you and your father-in-law, the best of luck. God bless.

CALLER: You know, can I share one thing?

GLENN: Sure.

CALLER: Because I hear you talk a lot about hope, and it's impacted me and my life. And so we -- my father-in-law goes through all this. We get him to our last night. And I'm doing some work because I need to do some work. And I'm listening. And he's downstairs with his daughter, and they're laughing and all that kind of stuff. I go down, and a few minutes later, and we're talking. He just kind of -- he paused and says, "I'm grateful for my life. I've had a good life. I'm glad I'm alive. That stuff doesn't matter."

And, you know, that's the kind of stuff we need in our world today. And people like you and your radio program, your TV program, Mercury One, and the people that work for you that are encouraging that type of stuff. And I just want to tell you I appreciate it, and I appreciate what you're doing.

GLENN: Thank you, Greg, I appreciate you telling us that. God bless. Thank you.

Featured Image: A charred bird cage sits in the smoldering remains of a home in the wake of a wildfire November 30, 2016 in Gatlinburg, Tennessee. Thousands of people have been evacuated from the area and over 100 houses and businesses were damaged or destroyed. Drought conditions and high winds helped the fire spread through the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains. (Photo by Brian Blanco/Getty Images)

Time after time, Americans have taken to the streets to defend our constitutional rights, whether it was our livelihood at stake -- or our lives. But, what was the point of all the civil rights movements that came before, if we're about to let the government take our rights away now?

On his Wednesday night special, Glenn Beck argued that Americans are tired of having our rights trampled by "tyrannical" leaders from state and local governments who are ignoring our unalienable rights during this pandemic.

"Our nanny state has gone too far. The men and women in office -- the ones closest to our communities, our towns, our cities -- are now taking advantage of our fear," Glenn said. "Like our brothers and sisters of the past, we need to start making the decisions that will put our destiny, and our children's destiny, back into our hands."

It took less than two months of the coronavirus tyranny to make America unrecognizable, but some Americans are fighting back, risking losing their jobs and businesses or even jail time, as they battle to take back our civil rights.

Here are just a few of their stories:

After New Jersey's Atilis Gym reopened in defiance of the governor's executive order, the Department of Health shut them down for "posing a threat to the public health." Co-owner Ian Smith says somebody sabotaged the gym's toilets with enire rolls of paper to create the public health "threat."

Oregon Salon owner, Lindsey Graham, was fined $14 thousand for reopening. She said she was visited by numerous government organizations, including Child Protective Services, in what she believes are bullying tactics straight from the governor's office.

77-year-old Michigan barber, Karl Manke, refused to close his shop even when facing arrest. "I couldn't go another 30 days without an income," he said. But when local police refused to arrest him, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer's (D) office suspending his business license instead.

Port of Seattle police officer Greg Anderson was suspended after he spoke out against enforcing what he called "tyrannical orders" imposed amid coronavirus lockdowns.

Kentucky mother-of-seven, Mary Sabbatino, found herself under investigation for alleged child abuse after breaking social distancing rules at a bank. After a social worker from child protective services determined there was no sign of abuse, he still sought to investigate why the Sabbatino's are homeschooling, and how they can give "adequate attention to that many children."

Dallas salon owner Shelley Luther was sentenced to seven days in jail after she defied the state-mandated stay-at-home orders to reopen her business.

Watch the video clip from Glenn's special below:


Watch the full special on BlazeTV YouTube here.

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To enjoy more of Glenn's masterful storytelling, thought-provoking analysis and uncanny ability to make sense of the chaos, subscribe to BlazeTV — the largest multiplatform network of voices who love America, defend the Constitution and live the American dream.

It took less than two months of the coronavirus tyranny to make America unrecognizable. Leaders from state and local governments across the U.S. have flattened the curve of some of our most basic constitutional rights, but some Americans are fighting back — and risking jail time or losing their businesses.

On Wednesday night's GBTV special, Glenn Beck argued that we're witnessing the birth of a new civil rights movement — and it's time to build a coalition of common sense to keep America as we know it free.

Watch the full special below:

Use code GLENN to save $10 on one year of BlazeTV.

Want more from Glenn Beck?

To enjoy more of Glenn's masterful storytelling, thought-provoking analysis and uncanny ability to make sense of the chaos, subscribe to BlazeTV — the largest multiplatform network of voices who love America, defend the Constitution and live the American dream.

On the radio program Thursday, Glenn Beck sat down with chief researcher Jason Buttrill to go over two bombshell developments that have recently come to light regarding former Vice President Joe Biden's role in the 2016 dismissal of Ukrainian Prosecutor General Viktor Shokin.

"Wow! Two huge stories dropped within about 24 hours of each other," Jason began. He went on to explain that a court ruling in Ukraine has just prompted an "actual criminal investigation against Joe Biden in Ukraine."

This stunning development coincided with the release of leaked phone conversations, which took place in late 2015 and early 2016, allegedly among then-Vice President Biden, Secretary of State John Kerry, and Ukraine's former President Petro Poroshenko.

One of the audiotapes seems to confirm allegations of a quid pro quo between Biden and Poroshenko, with the later admitting that he asked Shokin to resign despite having no evidence of him "doing anything wrong" in exchange for a $1 billion loan guarantee.

"Poroshenko said, 'despite the fact that we didn't have any corruption charges on [Shokin], and we don't have any information about him doing something wrong, I asked him to resign,'" Jason explained. "But none of the Western media is pointing this out."

Watch the video below for more details:


Listen to the released audiotapes in full here.

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To enjoy more of Glenn's masterful storytelling, thought-provoking analysis and uncanny ability to make sense of the chaos, subscribe to BlazeTV — the largest multiplatform network of voices who love America, defend the Constitution and live the American dream.

A recently declassified email, written by former National Security Adviser Susan Rice and sent herself on the day of President Donald Trump's inauguration, reveals the players involved in the origins of the Trump-Russia probe and "unmasking" of then-incoming National Security Adviser, Gen. Michael Flynn.

Rice's email details a meeting in the Oval Office on Jan 5, 2017, which included herself, former FBI Director James Comey, former Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates, former Vice President Joe Biden, and former President Barack Obama. Acting Director of National Intelligence, Richard Grenell, fully declassified the email recently amid President Trump's repeated references to "Obamagate" and claims that Obama "used his last weeks in office to target incoming officials and sabotage the new administration."

On Glenn Beck's Wednesday night special, Glenn broke down the details of Rice's email and discussed what they reveal about the Obama administration officials involved in the Russia investigation's origins.

Watch the video clip below: