American Red Cross of Mid-South

The American Red Cross prevents and alleviates human suffering in the face of emergencies by mobilizing the power of volunteers and the generosity of donors.

Red Cross Responds to Flash Flooding in North-Central Tennessee

by Robert W. Wallace


Red Cross worker Bob Tyler loads food boxes to be distributed to residents of Stewart County. The food provisions were provided by the Churches of Christ Disaster Relief Effort of Nashville, Tennessee.

Clarksville, Tennessee, May 3, 2013. Earlier this week flash floods ripped through several small communities in north-central Tennessee damaging over 440 homes, destroying 8 homes, and inflicting major damage on another 28.

The American Red Cross responded by opening shelters in Clarksville (Montgomery County), Erin (Houston County), and Dover (Stewart County) that provided temporary housing for 99 residents. In addition, the Red Cross, working with our partners the Churches of Christ Disaster Relief Effort and Southern Baptist Disaster Relief, distributed meals, snacks, water, and clean-up kits to residents of the area affected by the flooding.

Carlisle Missionary Baptist Church welcomes all despite flood damage.

Carlisle Missionary Baptist Church welcomes all despite flood damage.


Church sanctuary filled with supplies for those in need after flash flooding.


Shower and laundry facilities provided by the Southern Baptist Disaster Relief.

In the small community of Carlisle (Stewart County), the Carlisle Missionary Baptist Church was inundated with water from what is normally a small creek running behind the church. However, the flooding did not stop the congregation from using the facility to assist their neighbors. On Wednesday, just three days after the flash flood, all of the church pews were lined up outside on the lawn drying in the sun. Inside, the now bare concrete floor of the sanctuary was still damp, and held bottled water, clean-up supplies, and food for the local residents. The sanctuary had become a staging area for Red Cross volunteers and numerous workers from the Southern Baptist Disaster Relief Effort. At noon a generous lunch spread was provided and local residents as well as volunteers from both organizations sat down together for a meal. Wednesday also marked the arrival at the church of a mobile shower and laundry facility that the Southern Baptist Disaster Relief Effort brought in from Jackson, Tennessee, an arrival that had been much anticipated by local residents who had been without such facilities since the flood.

Just a few hundred yards down the road from the church, seventy-six-year old Cathy Joiner was working in the back room of her house home when the flash flood hit. She did not realize how fast the water was rising, and within minutes it was knee-deep inside her house. Joiner was rescued when a neighbor showed up at her back door and escorted her to higher ground. Since the flooding she has been living with her son, Steve Joiner, in Clarksville.


Red Crosser Beth Ferguson commiserates with Steve Joiner amidst his mother’s possessions spread out to dry in the backyard of her home. Note the huge trash dumpster filled to overflowing with his mother’s ruined possessions.

On Wednesday, Steve Joiner was working with a crew from Southern Baptist Disaster Relief and with supplies from the Red Cross to strip out the contents and clean his mother’s waterlogged home in an attempt to make it livable once again. “Mom now has a new set of wheels and will be back here soon,” said Steve Joiner as he busily tended to his mother’s possessions. Joiner recalled the times of his youth when he swam in the creek that borders the home. “Many were the times my mom would not let me in the house until I went to the creek to clean up; we kept a bar of soap on a tree branch. Normally it is a small creek, but I sure would not go in it now,” declared Joiner.

“I’ve never given to the Red Cross before. I’ve always given to other charities…, but now that I’ve seen what you guys do I am definitely going to donate to the Red Cross, concluded Joiner.


Family treasures from the Joiner home spread out to dry in the welcome sunlight.

Across the street from the Joiner home is the Carlisle Market, which was also hit hard by the flash flood. Entering the store the now empty shelves spoke clearly to the damage that the flood inflicted. Angelus Smith, broom in hand, was hard at work cleaning up debris from what had been a well-ordered business. “I was not in the store, thank goodness, when the flood hit. It was fast, within thirty minutes the water was three-feet deep. We had to throw everything out,” said Smith.

When offered assistance from the Red Cross and told that the Southern Baptist Disaster Relief would likely help out as well, Smith declined. “I live up on the hill where my home was not affected by the flood. I’ll leave the help to those who were hit harder,” said Smith. She did assure us, however, that her store, once an important resource for the community, would reopen.

As I write this blog entry, significant rain is falling in West Tennessee, and the Mid-South Chapter of the American Red Cross has placed its volunteers on standby to provide assistance in case of flooding. Just in case flooding does occur in the Mid-South Region, check out the Red Cross Flood Safety Checklist to find out what you should do now, what preparedness supplies one should gather, and what to do after a flood.


7 comments on “Red Cross Responds to Flash Flooding in North-Central Tennessee

  1. David Compton
    May 5, 2013

    Bob did a get overview and made it very personal with stories of individuals. David

    • kimberlymotschmancribb
      May 10, 2013

      Thanks for the comment! Would love to share your volunteers’ stories as well! Ready to blog yet, David? 🙂

  2. movers
    May 5, 2013

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  3. thefightbetting
    May 9, 2013

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    • rqw3266
      May 10, 2013

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  4. lista de email
    May 10, 2013

    excellent post. i want to thank you for this informative read, i really appreciate sharing this great post. keep up your work.

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This entry was posted on May 3, 2013 by in Uncategorized.

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