I’ve considered myself a part of the Mission’s family for almost 20 years. It started with a partnership between the Mission and NewsChannel 5 and has evolved beyond the scope of what I do at work. Serving at the Mission is something my wife Yolanda and I look forward to doing together with our children.
The first year I brought my family, my daughter Kayela, who was around ten at the time, kept asking about the people we were serving. She wanted to know why they were at the Mission and not at home. As a father, it was a valuable teaching moment for me. I explained some of the reasons people are homeless and how the Mission helps them get back on their feet. Today, she and my son Taylor both look forward to volunteering at the Mission.
As a meteorologist, I spend a lot of time studying the weather. One thing many people don’t realize is there are more heat-related deaths than there are any other weather-related deaths. In Nashville, this is definitely of concern to our homeless community. It’s not uncommon for temperatures in the summer to reach into the 90s for days at a time. It was only a few years ago we had an all-time high of 107. On hot days, if someone is homeless and not in a sheltered environment, they probably aren’t properly hydrated. If their health is compromised, they aren’t going to listen to the cues their body is giving them—ignoring their thirst. It’s a good chance this person is dehydrated and at a great risk for heat stroke.
I’m thankful Nashville Rescue Mission exists in our community. They are out on the streets during these hot days handing out bottles of water to those in need, doing what they can to help the homeless stay hydrated. I can only imagine what Nashville would be like if the Mission didn’t exist. I think we’d see a much bigger crisis than there is already. There would be many more people with no place to go.
I don’t know what brings a person to the point of seeking help at the Mission. But I know regardless of the situation or circumstance, the Mission extends hope and a helping hand to those in need. It’s why I support Nashville Rescue Mission and look forward to volunteering my time there.
Lelan A. Statom is the Senior Meteorologist for the NewsChannel 5 Network. The Emmy award-winning weather anchor has been helping families in Middle Tennessee start their day since 1999 as part of the station’s #1 rated morning newscast, NewsChannel 5 This Morning. He’s been co-host of Talk of the Town since 2006.