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August Issue: Tennessee Chapter Members Rally Together for Each Other…And Their Community

A Coordinated Effort

This past May, members of the AMTA Tennessee Chapter were rocked by record-breaking rain fall and subsequent damage caused by widespread flooding.

According to the National Weather Service, 13.57 inches fell May 1– May 2 which shattered the previous two-day rain fall record of 6.68 inches. The Cumberland River at Nashville crested at 51.86 feet—flood stage is just 40 feet.

Though shaken by vast damage surrounding them, members of the AMTA Tennessee Chapter quickly began coordinating efforts to help one another—and eventually the entire community—through the unprecedented period of events.

Through e-mails, Facebook, text messages and phone calls, chapter board members first began contacting one another to ensure that all had made it through the floods safely and that their homes and practices were left in tact. They quickly learned that Tennessee Chapter President Maj-lis Nash’s home had been flooded and severely damaged.

Nash, busy taking care of the massive clean-up at her own residence, suggested board members use their Facebook page to reach out to members and find out who needed help.

“Right away responses poured in from AMTA members asking, ‘What can we do to help?’” Amanda Parker, the chapter’s 1st vice president, commented. “Many of our efforts were actually coordinated through Facebook—it really made the process seamless.”

AMTA School member Mind Body Institute in Nashville became the "command center" for members participating in the clean-up and volunteer efforts. The school, where Nash servers as co-owner and director of education, became a central drop-off point for supply collections.

“Clothes, office supplies, toiletries, food, anything you can imagine were collected—one person even donated a van,” Parker added.

Together, the board members also called each of the 380 members of the Tennessee chapter. Through the calls, board members learned that seven members had sustained significant damage to their practices and homes.

So, chapter board members continued their efforts by contacting massage supply companies to find out what, if anything, the companies could donate to the members who had been devastated by the floods. Several companies—including Oakworks, Bon Vitale, Performance Health, Biotone, Books of Discovery and Sacred Earth—stepped up to offer discounts on tables, massage lotions, text books and other products to help the therapists begin putting their practices back together. Mind Body Institute also loaned out massage tables.

AMTA Members Giving Back to the Community

AMTA members and Mind Body Institute offered $30 one-hour massages for traumatized and exhausted flood victims. The school also hosted free 15-minute chair massages for volunteers helping with the clean-up and all other members of the community.

AMTA member Teresa Lawson made a visit to hard-hit neighborhood Pennington Bend with a grill, truck and plenty of food. For two days, Teresa, her husband and two sons grilled hundreds of hotdogs and hamburgers and distributed sodas, chips and other food. Local companies donated a portion of the supplies for the cook-out and the Lawsons graciously covered the rest of the expenses. 

Annual Conference Still a Success

Mind Body Institute and the adjacent Guest House Inn in Nashville were the site of the Tennessee Chapter’s Annual Conference that took place May 14−16—just a couple weeks after the historic rainfall. As a true testament to the resiliency of the chapter members, the entire conference went on as planned. Out of the 100 people registered, only three people were unable to attend. The conference offered an opportunity for chapter members to come together to reflect on recent events and map out more actions they could take to continue give back to the community.

“We’re taking care of ourselves—not just the massage therapists, but the people of Tennessee,” Parker finished.

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"As a professional member of AMTA, I have found comfort in knowing that all the effort I put into obtaining my massage certification is recognized and protected. AMTA standards validate the profession."

Kim K., AMTA member since 2003

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