As a Nashville native with family still in the area, I am privileged to spend this Memorial Day weekend in Nashville assisting volunteers and faith-based groups as they clean out homes damaged by severe storms and flooding.
Along with the DHS Center for Faith-Based and Community Initiatives’ Director David Myers, we have worked alongside members of AmeriCorps’ national and tribal Civilian Community Corps teams, a United Methodist disaster relief team and a Jewish disaster response organization called NECHAMA, to remove doors, walls, insulation, cabinets, and carpeting from homes damaged by flooding. We also met with community religious leaders, toured an area food bank, and visited FEMA’s Joint Field Office that serves as a command post for recovery efforts.
While it will take months for this region to fully recover, I am heartened by the spirit and resiliency of this community. The Federal Government, local government and volunteers are working closely together to make sure Tennesseans are receiving the help they need. More than 55,000 disaster survivors have registered for assistance in Tennessee. Nearly $133 million in disaster grants and low-interest loans has been approved since the major disaster declaration May 4.
President Obama, FEMA and our Federal partners have been involved in Tennessee recovery efforts from day one. I wanted to come to my hometown on behalf of the President and say, “We’re with you every step of the way.”
Joshua DuBois serves as Special Assistant to the President and Executive Director of the White House Office of Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships.