The Volunteer State?!

This past Saturday a rag-tag group of volunteers from my neighborhood gathered to help our neighbors two doors down who were devastated by the Nashville flood. They have been trapped in their back bedroom (the only room that was elevated in the entire house) for the past 14 days. While FEMA is still “evaluating,” this group led by neighbors J.D. & Brittney decided two weeks was long enough for our friends to be holed up in a 12′ x 12′ cubicle.

As introductions were exchanged, familiar faces became first names, and neighbors became co-workers. Volunteers. Everyone happily giving up their free Saturday to assist a neighbor in need. As we laughed and joked and worked our butts off (many of us do not regularly engage in manual labor), we realized the joys of volunteerism.

We somehow understood why we were Tennesseans. Some born here, some transplanted, but all Tennesseans. Volunteers. Citizens of the Volunteer State. And even though we had nothing to do with the origin of the state slogan, for a short while, we became the essence of it.

The older couple who until now had lived incognito among us, but who suffered the most in our community from the flood, constantly showered thanks on us, fed us, worked alongside us, suddenly became fellows. Comrades. Dare I say, neighbors in the truest sense of the word.

As I finished my routine run yesterday, and waved (a different wave somehow – not just sore, but different) at several of the fellow volunteers, uh, I mean neighbors, working around their respective houses, it dawned on me that volunteer means far more than a state slogan.

It means friend.


8 Responses to “The Volunteer State?!”

  1. The very rural community I was reared in never had “volunteer” organizations so to speak, in such a place everyone is necessary for anything to succeed for long. Each human has value, and each person’s needs are often met by individuals and families outside their own homes as we recognize the strength of our community of including each citizen. So many only think “schedule, work, hassle” when the work volunteer is mentioned…when in face the truth of volunteerism is “grace, peace, and joy in giving, in being a part of actions that truly make impacts on other’s lives…on our own…. Tennessee, my adopted home a few days of the month, has impressed me deeply in the flood experience. I have seen and experienced more of the appreciation for community than I have experienced since moving to the “city.” far from my home state. Thank you for being part of that experience.
    .-= Sweetie Berry´s last blog ..You see it’s Jenni’s fault…. =-.

    • @Sweetie Berry, “when in face the truth of volunteerism is “grace, peace, and joy in giving, in being a part of actions that truly make impacts on other’s lives…on our own…. Tennessee, my adopted home a few days of the month, has impressed me deeply in the flood experience.”

      Truer words have rarely been spoken. Thanks, Sweetie.

  2. Near the end of the movie, Pearl Harbor, the character Lt Col Doolittle (played by Alec Baldwin) utters one of my all-time movie quotes. As his two best pilots were training to fly a would-be suicide mission over Japan, Doolittle says of them, “There’s nothing stronger than the heart of a Volunteer.” The two pilots were from Tennessee.

    As an avid UGA fan – I lay my football allegiances aside to agree with Doolitte. The stories of neighbor serving neighbor are inspiring. If Romans 8:28 is true, and I believe it is, part of the good of this disaster is fulfillment of the second greatest commandment – love people.

    God Bless you Randy,
    BP
    .-= Bryan´s last blog ..Call Your Mother =-.

  3. Paul Gaddes May 17, 2010 at 16:07

    Randy, nice contemporary story, however Tennessee first became known as the Volunteer state when, in 1812 a native son, Andrew Jackson, called for volunteers from his home state to travel to New Orleans to help fight the British, who were bent on taking this important port. Well, the war ended, Jackson still attacked the British and whipped ’em. Hence, the Volunteer State motto came into being…another, less popular name was the “Hog and Hominy State” my personal favorite…

  4. Our world is changing because God’s absolute love is being manifested.
    .-= patriciazell´s last blog ..#42 THE RETURN OF CHRIST: THE SETTING =-.

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