Report from Nashville: Scientology Volunteer Ministers and the Nashville flood cleanup

| Nashville, Tennessee 26 May 2010 |

Scientology Volunteer Ministers manning Nashville shelters.
Clean up actions in Nashville.
Many households were destroyed.
Flood damage in Nashville.
A Volunteer Minister assists a couple at a shelters.
On the first weekend of May, the Cumberland River overflowed, flooding downtown Nashville. Not only were entire neighborhoods submerged, but resorts, restaurants and hotels were inundated with floodwater and mud. Mayor Karl Dean has predicted the cleanup will cost $1.5 billion and the relief effort will be continuing for months.

As soon as they learned flooding was expected and shelters were being set up, the Church of Scientology & Celebrity Centre of Nashville called up their Scientology Volunteer Ministers. The VMs started providing relief even before the major flooding began and have continued ever since. They are working as part of Hands On Nashville—the city’s official volunteer corps.

The first few days, VMs helped at disaster relief centers, and with evacuations. Several shelters were set up in schools and the Volunteer Ministers helped man and organize them. All 1,500 guests of the Opryland Hotel had to be evacuated—the courtyard was completely submerged and floodwater rose to 10 feet inside the hotel. The Scientology Volunteer Ministers worked at the school where the Opryland guests were brought, and helped them find their luggage and book flights out of the city.

It can be pretty confusing when a disaster strikes. The Volunteer Ministers helped organize the shelters, assigning volunteers to various functions and directing those needing different services to where they needed to go. People from all over town showed up to help, so one of the Volunteer Ministers sent out a team to locate homes where assistance was needed. The team then text-messaged the details back to the shelters, so volunteers could be dispatched to specific homes to provide whatever help was needed.

Some of the Volunteer Ministers went to the Tennessee State Fairgrounds where the speedway had been flooded out. The National Guard was stationed there and the Volunteer Ministers took over one of the water distribution centers, and handed out drinking water all day long.

As soon as the water started to recede the Volunteer Ministers began the arduous job of helping neighbors dig out from the mud and sift through mounds of soggy paper, ruined furniture and waterlogged personal possessions. In one house, the flooding tore in with so much force, it whipped a grand piano off the floor and left it upside down when the water ran off.

It can be pretty rough to have your whole house and all your possessions destroyed overnight—not something you plan for. So, sometimes when a Volunteer Minister arrives at someone’s home they find people stressed out. When that happens, or if they find someone traumatized, they provide a service all Volunteer Ministers are trained on, called Assists. Assists are techniques developed by Scientology Founder L. Ron Hubbard and one of their benefits is they help people overcome spiritual and emotional trauma. Our Volunteer Ministers website has a free course where anyone can learn these techniques.

With the amount of damage that occurred throughout Nashville, the Church of Scientology & Celebrity Centre of Nashville plans to continue its Volunteer Minister services for the coming months, and is also offering free disaster relief training. To enroll on the course or learn more about the program visit the Church at 1130 8th Ave South, Nashville or call 615-687-4600.