I still remember this day like it was yesterday. Both Saturday, May 1 and Sunday May 2nd the rain never seemed to end. On Saturday, I was making my way to my sister’s house when I heard over the radio that they’d closed I-24 due to flooding. I still didn’t think much about it, just figured there were some low lying areas of the road that had collected water and they closed it to be safe. It wasn’t until I arrived at my sister’s house and flipped on the TV that my jaw dropped at the scene near Bell Road. Car after car after car submerged or partially submerged on I-24. My heart went out to those who were trapped and those who perished as they struggled to get out of their car that was filling up with water. Then within minutes, I remember witnessing the Lighthouse Christian School; their mobile trailer floating down the interstate and crashing into a semi. It was surreal and I was speechless. I quickly called our Disaster Coordinator who was already on the scene and was serving meals to the Office of Emergency Management Personnel while they dispatched rescue teams and monitored the situation. He said we are on standby and ready to spring into action as needed. I jumped on Facebook and posted on our page that we were monitoring the weather situation.
I arrived home later that afternoon and continued to watch as more and more roadways filled with water and small bridges seemed to disappear. The rain continued to fall out of the sky with the intensity of a giant waterfall all through the night and into the next day. I watched as the river close to my house swelled till it spilled out on the road and slowly crept toward my house. I remained on the phone with our Disaster Coordinator, our Director of Marketing, Volunteer Services Director and our Area Commander. Later on, early Monday, morning the 3rd of May around 1 am over 60 men were rescued by boat from The Salvation Army Adult Rehabilitation Center on 1st street and brought to our Area Command on Dickerson Rd. We set up cots for them and prepared a hot meal. It was from that point that we became the SA Incident Command for the city and admin staff gathering in the conference room with our laptops and worked long hours, 7 days a week, coordinating the response and reporting on the outcomes. Canteens from local units came down to assist in mass feedings throughout the city and surrounding counties.
The most poignant and beautiful thing to see amidst this storm was to watch the community jump in to help one another. No matter the background, socio-economic status, race, religion, etc. we all helped one another get through it. Volunteers helped sand bag, they helped clean and organize. Volunteers fed meals and served drinks and became the shoulder to cry on; the arms and hands to hold on to when you weren’t sure you could take another step.
The world had the chance to witness what we already knew about ourselves. We care and love one another, we’re there for each other and if something needs to be done, we do it! Through the many rain drops that fell, blessings could still be found within the tragedies. We connected as a city and new friendships and appreciation for life became prevalent. We made it, we survived it, we became strong and resilient because of it; We Are Nashville!