The history of the Volunteer Network actually began back in 2020. In March 2020, the Wilson County community experienced significant damage to homes, schools, and businesses. In the days following the tornado, there was a mobilization effort with over 4,000 volunteers that registered through a portal established by Mount Juliet Police Department. Community leaders and groups from across the county worked together to coordinate a weekend of recovery efforts. Regina Girten and Jamie Tyner, both serving as outreach directors within their churches, met as they assisted in organizing these efforts.
Following this weekend, several community leaders and groups continued to gather to learn about best practices in long-term recovery through the United Methodist Committee on Relief and the Salvation Army. Initially, these efforts were occurring in both Lebanon and Mount Juliet. Under the direction of the Wilson County Mayor’s office, these two groups merged together into one: Recover Wilson. Recover Wilson served as the Long Term Recovery Group for Wilson County for the Tornado of 2020, Flood of 2021, and Tornado of 2022.
Recover Wilson Team Members:
- Chairs: Rev. Regina Girten and Michael Moscardelli
- Construction: Westminster Home Connection and a subcommittee of contractors and churches willing to provide repairs and rebuilds
- Care: Lantern Lane Farm and Counseling Center
- Case Management: Tornado Recovery Connection and the TNUMC (which would turn into Disaster Recovery Connection), with a team of fourteen case managers
- Funding: Led by Community Foundation of Middle TN, Michael Moscardelli, and a subcommittee of community churches
- Communications: Community Foundation of Middle TN
- Materials Management: Community Resource Center
- Debris Removal: Hands On Nashville provided assessments, Jamie Tyner and Cross Point Church coordinated the jobs
- Volunteer Management: Lutheran Disaster Response, Providence Church, Cross Point Church, The Glade Church, and Everyone’s Wilson
- Additionally Represented on the Team: Mayor of Wilson County, Representatives from each city’s Chamber of Commerce, Representatives from Wilson County Schools, Everyone’s Wilson, Each Help Center in the county, Wilson County Civic League, and pastors from several churches across the county
As these efforts continued to settle, Regina and Jamie began meeting to discuss their work in serving Wilson County. As they talked about the community partners their churches supported, they realized they were duplicating some efforts. This led to them reaching out to other churches and nonprofits serving the community to begin meeting to strategize together on creating a more holistic and equitable change within our community. The idea of the Volunteer Network was born from some of the initial meetings. In collaboration with Hands On Nashville and Hands On Connect, the Volunteer Network has developed an online system for community members to connect with volunteer needs posted by local nonprofits, businesses, and churches.
It is Regina and Jamie’s hope to create a landing pad where community members know they can come to serve their community in ongoing needs and in times of disaster. We are here to assist in building bridges to connect nonprofits, churches, and businesses with the broader Wilson County Community and to equip our community to best serve our neighbors in need.
Additionally, the work of Recover Wilson will now fold into the Volunteer Network’s Disaster Response program. TVN will partner alongside Wilson Emergency Management Agency and the first responders in the community to be the space for volunteers to give their time in initial disaster response and will serve as the facilitating nonprofit to coordinate Long Term Recovery Groups in times of disaster.
To hear more about the beginning of the Volunteer Network, listen to the first episode of our podcast.