I have always been proud to call Nashville home, but that pride was strengthened during the aftermath of the devastating flood Nashville and the surrounding area experienced May 1-2. Even before the rain stopped and water receded, several organizations such as The Community Foundation, Hands on Nashville, and the Red Cross banded together to help those in need. I was one of those eager to lend a helping hand as I was very fortunate to not be affected by the flood, but to my astonishment, I was not able to sign up for any volunteer activities for 2 days because all of the slots had filled. Facebook was overrun with posts from various organizations and individuals doing anything they could to raise money to support the flood efforts. Posters were designed, t-shirts were sold, donations were collected – all just hours after we realized what had happened. It was amazing.
The flood happened right after finals and before the start of my internship, so I was able to don my facemask and gloves and lend a hand almost daily. I felt very grateful since several of my friends were frustrated to be sitting at desk behind a computer. I used muscles I didn’t know I had tearing out drywall, removing soaked insulation, and moving soggy furniture, carpet, clothes, books, etc. to the curb to be collected. I also spent a morning at a flood relief center assessing the needs of and advising flood victims on the resources available to them.
What amazed me even more than the tremendous outpouring of helping hands, fundraising events, and generous donations, were the attitudes of those that lost everything. Every homeowner I met whose house was just destroyed was very positive. They were all very optimistic and had the attitude that things happen for a reason and they will get through it. I can only hope that had I evacuated my house from my second story window into a boat at 5am and returned the next day to discover I had lost everything – furniture, books, photos, car, food, etc. – I would have the same positive outlook. One woman in West Nashville even wanted our contact information so she could send us thank you notes!
To say this has been an experience I will never forget is an understatement. The smells I have smelled, sites I have seen, and victims I have hugged will stay with me forever. I will always reflect back on this time with a smile on my face though as I remember how quickly and strongly the Nashville community banded together to help. I plan to continue to help out in any way I can whenever I can as long as the need is there. It will take months, or even years, to rebuild the tens of millions of dollars of damage done to our city and surrounding areas, but it will come back stronger than ever.
Donations and volunteers are still needed as we shift from a recovery phase to a rebuilding phase. Please click on any of the links below to learn how you can help.
This post was written by Margaret Jones, a member of the MBA Class of 2011