A Flood of Generosity for Flood Victims

Rath deHouth and Ann McGee sold tickets for some beautiful baskets.

Rath deHouth and Ann McGee sold tickets for some beautiful baskets.

An evening of music and dancing at the Irish Center last week raised more than $2,000 for the people of Kingston Springs, Tennessee, who lost their local elementary school in the floods that wreaked havoc on Nashville and the entire Cumberland River area in May.

It was a gesture of thanks from a group of 52 Irish Philadelphians who found themselves in Kingston Springs after last May’s flooding turned back their tour bus which was taking them to Memphis for a visit to Graceland.

When the group holed up at a BP station, the tour band—local musicians Fintan Malone, Luke Jardel, and Pat Kildea—set up their instruments and started to play. Many of the Philly tourists were dancers, so an impromptu ceili went into full swing—and it was recorded for YouTube by a Texas tourist who was also stranded.

A nearby merchant sent sandwiches and cases of water to the dancers and some of the local residents joined in the fun, dancing and singing as the rain fell.

To repay the kindness, tour coordinator Marianne MacDonald and musician Luke Jardel planned a benefit (“The Gas Pump Ceili Benefit”) at last Thursday’s Rambling House event at the Irish Center.

The people of Kingston Springs responded when photos from the benefit were posted to the city’s Facebook page. Here are a few examples:

“Fabulous!! We heard so much about your visit, yet no one could really tell us who you were or where you came from! Thanks so much for your positive approach during the flood and leaving a positive memory behind. Thanks for entertaining the stranded.”—Laurie Cooper, City Manager

“Thank you… I wish the flood didn’t happen but it was wonderful for us all to come together. Seems like things stopped ( everyday worries) and people came together like they should. What beautiful hearts you have!”—Jennifer Baer Reese

“Thank you all so much for your generosity, kindness and those much needed smiles your created May 2!”—Marie Spafford

We have photos from the benefit. Click on the photo at upper right to view a photo essay.

Author: Denise Foley

Denise is one of the founding editors of irishphiladelphia.com and a veteran magazine and newspaper writer and editor.

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