Where there's a will, there's a wagon

My heart is heavy tonight seeing the devastation of my beloved city. I can't stop watching the local news. It's almost surreal looking at places that I have gone and the park that I often took the girls to is under 10 feet of water. Even their school was cancelled this week because the water had invaded the basement classrooms.

We just got back into town last night from our weekend in Indiana. I didn't really know what to expect when we got home. I knew our house was ok because we live on top of a hill. As we drove down I-65 through downtown Nashville, I couldn't believe the amount of water I was seeing. It almost didn't seem real, like something out of a movie.

There are so many tonight who have lost everything. They have lost their homes, cars, belongings and some have lost their lives. This is an unprecedented event that took place. The Army Corp of Engineers called it the "1000 year flood". Most people who lost their homes did not have flood insurance because they didn't sit in a flood plain. Can you imagine losing your house and not having the insurance money to rebuild and owing on the mortgage of the house that is gone? My home is my safe haven and I can't imagine seeing it under water.

I was feeling hopeless today. I wanted to help but didn't know how. I have the girls so getting out and helping clear out houses and do manual labor wasn't an option for me. Then I saw a posting on Facebook about everyday items that were needed. That's when I got an idea. What if the girls took the wagon around the neighborhood and asked the neighbors to donate items for those that have lost everything? This was a way that we could help. I also wanted the girls to learn about compassion and what it is like to help those in need.

They loved the idea. We started with our own bathroom closet to see what we had. Thankfully we shop in bulk at Costco so we had a bunch of toiletries we could donate. Then they hung signs on their wagon and printed off the list of items that were needed. They were ready to head out.

We practiced what they were going to say when they knocked on the door. Brooklyn would say, "We are collecting for the flood". Sydney would then say, "Would you like to donate?" Brian later told me it sounded like Sydney was saying, "Would you like a donut?" Ha.

Brian took them around the neighborhood. The neighbors were all so generous. They went into their houses and gave what they had available. They all thanked the girls for collecting the items for them. Some even told Brian that they had rooms available for people to stay. So many said that they wanted to help but didn't know how. I so get that because that is how I felt. I think what I have learned through this is you help how you can. For some that will be helping out physically with removing debris and clearing out homes, for others it will be donating financially, others it may be opening their homes for a family to have shelter and then for others like us it was collecting some items to drop off to a shelter.

I have seen first hand how the community has gathered around one another to help out during this difficult time. I am proud to say that I live in Nashville. Proud to be a part of such an amazing city. There is a reason they call Tennessee the Volunteer state.

I came across an article that was written that said it best today that I thought I would share. It was written by Patten Fuqua, a Nashville native, Predators Hockey fan and Belmont journalism grad.

Allow me a moment to step away from the usual voice of this website.

What I am about to write has absolutely nothing to do with hockey.

If you live outside of Nashville, you may not be aware, but our city was hit by a 500-year flood over the last few days. The national news coverage gave us 15 minutes, but went back to focusing on a failed car bomb and an oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. While both are clearly important stories, was that any reason to ignore our story? It may not be as terror-sexy as a failed car bomb or as eco-sexy as an oil spill, but that’s no reason to be ignored.

The Cumberland River crested at its highest level in over 80 years. Nashville had its highest rainfall totals since records began. People drowned. Billions of dollars in damage occurred. It is the single largest disaster to hit Middle Tennessee since the Civil War. And yet…no one knows about it.

Does it really matter? Eventually, it will…as I mentioned, there are billions of dollars in damage. It seems bizarre that no one seems to be aware that we just experienced what is quite possibly the costliest non-hurricane disaster in American history. The funds to rebuild will have to come from somewhere, which is why people need to know. It’s hard to believe that we will receive much relief if there isn’t a perception that we need it.

But let’s look at the other side of the coin for a moment. A large part of the reason that we are being ignored is because of who we are. Think about that for just a second. Did you hear about looting? Did you hear about crime sprees? No…you didn’t. You heard about people pulling their neighbors off of rooftops. You saw a group of people trying to move two horses to higher ground. No…we didn’t loot. Our biggest warning was, “Don’t play in the floodwater.” When you think about it…that speaks a lot for our city. A large portion of why we were being ignored was that we weren’t doing anything to draw attention to ourselves. We were handling it on our own.

Some will be quick to find fault in the way rescue operations were handled, but the fact of the matter is that the catastrophe could not have been prevented and it is simply ignorant beyond all reason to suggest otherwise. It is a flood. It was caused by rain. You can try to find a face to stick this tragedy to, but you’ll be wrong.

Parts of Nashville that could never even conceivably be underwater were underwater. Some of them still are. Opry Mills and the Opryland Hotel are, for all intents and purposes, destroyed. People died sitting in standstill traffic on the Interstate. We saw boats going down West End. And, of course, we all saw the surreal image of the portable building from Lighthouse Christian floating into traffic and being destroyed when cars were knocked into it. I’m still having trouble comprehending all of it.

And yet…life will go on. We’ll go back to work, to school, to our lives…and we’ll carry on. In a little over a month, I’ll be on this website talking about the draft. In October, we’ll be discussing the new Predators’ season with nary a thought of these past few days. But in a way, they changed everyone in this town. We now know that that it can happen to us…but also know that we can handle it.

Because we are Nashville.

So I leave you with this one question tonight. How can you help? If you are not local, maybe you have a few dollars that you can donate. There is a wonderful local organization called Hands On Nashville. The money will go directly to the people of Nashville. Most importantly we need your prayers. Prayers for the thousands that are homeless and for all of the volunteers that are working round the clock to help people get back on their feet.

I'll leave you with an appropriate video with a song from the late Johnny Cash. In the video you will see Opryland Hotel, Oprymills Mall, The Coliseum where the Titans play and the Grand Ole Opry


mel @ the larson lingo said...

What an amazing thing that you and your girls did for the flood victims. I cant stop looking at the pictures of the flood, it is so heartbreaking....I am praying for you & your city. (And, here in Cali our news had a lot of coverage of Nashville tonight, so hopefully awareness is spreading).
p.s. Glad your home is safe!

Live from the Quick House said...

Great idea Krista, Greer and I might have to give it a try today! Love the Johnny Cash/Video!

The Niemeyer Nest said...

I found your blog through Kelly's Korner! Great way to help out with the flood victims. I am local too so maybe we could try the same thing. Love your blog!

Chelsa said...

i found your blog through kelly's... my cousin lives in nashville so i had heard all about the flood, but you're right it's just crazy it's not getting any national attention. what a wonderful thing you were doing with your girls! great teaching moment!

where does your sister live in indiana? that's where i'm from :)

Melissa's Thoughts said...

I found your blog from Kelly's Korner. As a fellow Volunteer, thank you for giving and teaching your children to give. We live in the Boro and were not affected, but many of my co-workers were affected. It's been hard for all of us, but it's great when we step up and put action to our words. great job.

Beth McC. said...

Great Post! I am from Nashville and well I am just taking it day by day! I love seeing all the Nashville posts! I just put up a Mcklinky to link all the Nashville posts together! And like you said "And...Life will go on"!

Jennie Biggs said...

Indiana here...thinking and praying for all those affected by this tragedy. God bless you and your little girls for all you are doing! America needs more people just like you! ♥

khull05 said...

I also came over from Kelly's blog. I live in Bellevue and had the same feelings of everything being so surreal as I watched the flood.

LOVE the idea of collecting items in the wagon. I want to involve my son in helping since he is very aware of what has happened.

The Clinkscales Family said...

I also came over from Kelly's blog. What your children did is terrific. I love the idea. I am one of the unfortunate who lost our home. But we are so blessed to have flood insurance to cover structural damages just not contents. Thanks for posting the article written by Patten. I really enjoyed reading what he had to say and I couldn't agree with him more. I am from Louisiana but thankfully lived here during Katrina (plus I'm from north Louisiana) but I have been so impressed with how Nashville has handled the flood. Just the other day my husband mentioned how proud it made us to be Nashvillians. I spoke with my mom today and she just couldn't believe we had what we could salvage sitting out in our front yard. We are in an extended stay hotel this week and not once have I felt that I had to worry about my belongings sitting outside my home at night. Nashville has really come together to help each other. We have lived here for 8 years now and it makes me never want to leave.

Katie@Yoga Gal said...

Over from Kelly's-

This was such a wonderful idea and how sweet of your little girls to help those in need. I wish we were closer to Nashville so we could do the same. My husband and I are lifelong Tennesseans who moved to Huntsville, AL, last year. This has been so overwhelming to see what has happened to our iconic city. God Bless you and God Bless everyone who has been affected by the flood.


Krista Lord said...

Thank you all for stopping by and a big thanks to Kelly for linking to my blog. The need is so great as you all know. Thankfully the national media coverage is picking up with Andersoon Cooper here right now. It's so nice to know we can all support each other where ever we live. I love the blogging community and all the moms. Clinksales Family I am so sorry for the loss of your home. I just sent you an email but if you need a place to stay we have some room for your family. We'd love the company.

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