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