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Laura Bush Visits Red Cross Volunteers in Tennessee


American Red Cross volunteers at Tennessee flood headquarters in Nashville received a morale boost on Tuesday when former first lady Laura Bush visited and thanked them for their service and dedication. Mrs. Bush was accompanied by Karyn Frist, wife of former senator Bill Frist.

Managers of the relief operation’s different units—including Damage Assessment, Mass Care, Partner Services and Health Services—gave overviews of their work and statistics on the services provided to Tennesseans who were affected by the massive flood.

On the first days of May, torrential rains pounded Middle and West Tennessee, resulting in the worst flooding the state has experienced in decades. Widespread flooding from these rains continues to affect local families and businesses throughout the region, and has resulted in more than 20 deaths, severe property damage to homes, businesses and historic landmarks. Fifty-two counties flooded, and FEMA declared 42 of those counties as national disaster areas.

After a briefing by a member of the condolence team who made contact with the families of 24 fatalities, Mrs. Bush hugged volunteer nurse Darlene Baney, who became emotional when making her presentation.

After the two women embraced, Mrs. Bush asked how she could best share the story of the Red Cross efforts in Tennessee. Baney replied, “Share the emotion.”

At the conclusion of the visit, Mrs. Bush spoke to the group and commended the efforts of the 3,000 volunteers that have been providing services to the families affected by this massive flood.

She concluded by urging the media to encourage contributing and volunteering for the Red Cross because, "just like Nashville never expected to have a flood…you never know when you might need the Red Cross yourself in your own neighborhood."