Before my office relocated from the WeWork Building to the Gulch, I’d get off I-40 at the Second/Fourth Avenue exit. Most days, Diesel was there at the first stoplight. Sometimes he’d be selling copies of The Contributor newspapers, sometimes not. But without fail, he was there. Over the course of several years, I would learn about his life while chatting him up at the traffic light. He told me his story. He was in and out of housing. We became friends. But when my office relocated, and I knew I was no longer going to take that exit, I had to tell him I wouldn’t be stopping by. I was sad, but I knew there was only so much I could do to help him.
“I am given grace and love, and I am to give others grace and love, especially those most vulnerable and most in need.” -David Drobny
I first became aware of Nashville Rescue Mission as I made that same drive to and from work. As my church was a supporter of the organization, I learned more from the different videos they played during church services. These experiences, along with watching, or rather rewatching the movie, The Wire, changed my perspective on homelessness. Understanding how so many in our community are raised without so much of a chance, or any chance really, to get their basic needs met. Seeing beyond their circumstances—and understanding, they are just as smart, capable, and lovely as anyone else but have been dealt a very difficult hand.
In my role with Nashville Severe Weather, we have the opportunity to bring attention to severe weather events happening in and around our city. Many of these events may have a direct impact on our friends and neighbors living on the streets. Most recently, we lost two people to the March 27 flash flood emergency. They were in an encampment near Seven Mile Creek.
Storms, cold, floods are especially dangerous to the most vulnerable. This is unacceptable. Nashville Severe Weather cannot “fix” homelessness. Still, we are exploring adding to the network of river gauges to assist law enforcement and emergency responders in understanding where floods will occur to increase their situational awareness and, hopefully, response times.
Over the years, we have shared posts on our social channels asking our followers to support Nashville Rescue Mission’s work by donating bottled water in the summer or blankets and emergency supplies in the winter. The response has been fantastic.
Personally, I can’t understand why anyone would not want to help out our community’s most vulnerable members. I am given grace and love, and I am to give others grace and love, especially to those most vulnerable and most in need. It’s one reason I support the Mission. While I don’t know how to compel someone else to care. I can only tell you why I care. Maybe that’ll stir you.