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A Year After the Flood, AARP Hosts Disaster Forum

Recovery is a long way off for many Tennesseans

"It usually takes us about five years to close out an average disaster, and this was not an average disaster. There's not going to be quick recovery from this," Heidt said. It's too early to tell how many years emergency managers will spend responding to the flood.

The emotional toll is immeasurable, say those still working to help victims.

"It was an incredibly traumatic experience," said Terry Allison Rappuhn, chairman of the Westminster Presbyterian Disaster Assistance Task Force.

The organization, which is one of many groups helping people in the Nashville area, continues to assist more than 100 families hurt by the flood.

"I'm not aware of anyone who came out of this unchanged. It was a huge loss financially and emotionally," Rappuhn said.

Those who are still in need of assistance can find resources on the AARP Tennessee website at or by phone at 1-866-295-7274 toll-free, or by email at

Michelle Diament is a freelance writer living in Memphis, Tenn.

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