I Didn’t Want To Write This

For more than three weeks the spirit of compassion and concern has prevailed throughout this city. Neighbors are reaching out as strangers work together to help others reclaim their lives and restore their homes. Shortly after arriving in Nashville, one FEMA official expressed that she was impressed by the magnitude of work being done by local volunteers, stating that she has never visited a city that was so stricken, yet required so little outside help.

With an estimated ratio of four volunteers to every one victim remaining on the scene and with food and shelter readily available to displaced home owners and renters, I was disturbed by the public complaints of one local individual, who after claiming to have lost everything to the flood (including a home,) lashed out out at the community with a forceful negativity that threatened to diminish the tales of survival and gratitude expressed by other flood victims.

Armed with facts that will hold up in any court of law, it is with regret that I must state that the stories being circulated by this person are untrue. The claim to being homeless could very well be true, but the alleged homelessness was not a result of the flood or it’s aftermath.

This individual was my friend for more than two decades, and at times was a dear companion and trusted confidante, so it is out of consideration for all the tragedies and good times that we once shared that I am withholding the name of my former friend. However, it is my respect for Jack and Sue Spence who truly lost everything, and my concern for my buddy Chris Lambos who lost a lot, and the sorrow I feel over the death of Joe and Bessie Formossa, that compels me to expose this fraud.

In the days following the flood I was an eyewitness to the strength of character and dignity shown by dozens of displaced residents from the Nations, an impoverished neighborhood hit hard by the disaster. Their losses are so real and their desire to overcome and rebuild is so strong,that it is impossible for me to stay quiet and allow someone, especially someone that I know, to falsely and publicly represent their cause.

In closing I would like to say this to my ex-friend: in the aftermath of Katrina it was reported that certain unethical people received money and aid from FEMA and other organizations by fraudulently claiming to be hurricane victims. Later many of those false claims were revealed and the claimants are paying dearly for their actions. I am confident that you are not as foolish as they were.


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