NASHVILLE – Just over a year after parts of Nashville were devastated by deadly tornadoes, another natural disaster impacted countless others in Middle Tennessee.
This time, it was catastrophic flooding.
And once again, the Titans were out in the community to help those in need.
This past weekend, Titans staff members volunteered in a South Nashville neighborhood affected by recent flash flooding. The Titans partnered with Hands On Nashville to assist affected residents while encouraging others to volunteer.
"For the Titans, serving our community is really core to our mission," said Burke Nihill, President and CEO, Tennessee Titans. "We believe it is part of why we exist, why it is good for the Titans to be in Nashville, and to be in Tennessee. When there's a need we are going to show up, and we are going to be there to help. Sometimes that may be writing a check. We are always ready to contribute financial resources where they are needed, but very often … we need to put on work gloves, and we need to get into houses and help in very practical, tangible ways."
A busload of Titans employees left Nissan Stadium early Saturday morning and departed for South Nashville, where they ended up on West Durrett Drive, behind Whitfield Park. Just days early, Sevenmile Creek flowed up into homes, and produced more damage than the historic 2010 floods.
On those streets Titans quarterbacks coach Pat O'Hara carried destroyed furniture from homes with Burke. Titans Vice President of Broadcasting Mike Keith moved debris in a wheelbarrow, while Gil Beverly, Senior Vice President/Chief Marketing & Revenue Officer, helped break down destroyed fences and carried debris to the street.
A few houses down, Senior Vice President/Business Affairs and Chief Legal Officer Adolpho Birch was hauling away destroyed items with Dan Werly, General Counsel for the team. Donald Page, the team's photographer, separated concrete from a fence post with a sledgehammer.
"This is what we do," O'Hara said. "When tornadoes hit, I remember a little over a year ago we were out in the community trying to help out, too. … It is not all football. Getting out in the community and really helping, it feels good to do that."
Tina Tuggle, Vice President of Community Impact with the Titans, said the team wanted to do its part to help residents return to normalcy as soon as possible.
"It is so important to be a part of the community, and when our residents in our community are hurting and need help, it is our responsibility to go out and be a part of that," Tuggle said. "So as part of the community impact it is important for us to serve. And this is an opportunity for us to go out and serve our fans, our community members, and help them get their lives back to normal."
Karin Weaver, Strategic Partnerships Manager with Hands On Nashville, said the partnership will continue to benefit Nashville, and those in need.
Courtney Johnston, District 26 Council Member, reminded it's a marathon and not a sprint, and that help will be needed for a while.
"What is exciting is this relationship between Hands on Nashville and the Titans is an ongoing one," Weaver said, "and what we do is continue to say: "OK, where is the need, and what can we do together?'
As South Nashville resident Adrian Baugh stood in his front yard, he said he was thankful as roughly 30 volunteers in Titans gear moved furniture, raked away debris and move fence lines around him.
The progress was evident based on the piles of debris lined up on the street.
"It was like a well-oiled machine," Baugh said with a smile. "Mike Keith was out here kind of directing the show, loading my Pod back there. That was the biggest need, getting the furniture out. I really appreciate it."
The Tennessee Titans and Hands on Nashville helped the affected areas from the recent flood. (Donald Page)