Today I am departing from my usual fandom-based post to say something that I feel strongly must be said. As some of you may know, over the first weekend in May, the middle Tennessee area experienced record breaking amounts of rain. The resultant flooding submerged many parts of the State including Nashville, the capitol. Businesses, homes, and historic monuments were all impacted, and damages are currently estimated at $1.5 billion for Nashville alone. The water completely submerged one of Nashville's water treatment plants and it was only through diligent efforts that the remaining plant was kept operational. Currently, residents of Davidson County have been asked to cut their water usage in half, while other parts of the State must boil the water that comes from the tap.
But even though I lived it, I don't think the scope of devastation is the true story of this disaster.
While the rain kept falling and the water levels kept rising, Tennesseans showed their strength of character. At no time did the residents ask, "Where is the Federal goverment?" There was no expectation that help was coming, or that someone else would save us. Instead, we put on our hip waders, got into our monster trucks, and did the job ourselves.
As soon as the last drop of rain fell, the Mayor detailed the recovery plan and was instructing people that all volunteer efforts would be coordinated through the organization Hands On Nashville. Within a few hours, 7,000 people had signed up to help, and that number continues to grow. Donations began pouring in from all corners of the State to The Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee, some driving for several hours to bring truck loads of needed supplies.
While there are stories of heartbreak and tragedy and devastation, I believe that the greatest story to tell from this disaster is that of neighbor helping neighbor, and community helping community. It is a story of community self-reliance and compassion, and shows more vividly than words why Tennessee is called 'The Volunteer State'. I am proud to be a Tennessean, and a resident of Nashville area, and if I have my druthers, I'll never live anywhere else.