Brad Paisley Gets Personal Phone Call From President Obama
When Brad Paisley spoke with CNN's Anderson Cooper last week from a flood-ravaged neighborhood in Nashville, he was standing amidst tons of tumbling piles of damaged furniture and belongings that residents had dragged from their flooded homes.
"I'm from West Virginia and grew up on the Ohio River, and that would periodically (flood) ... but I've never seen anything like this, not here," Brad said quietly, shaking his head. "From what I hear, this only happens every hundred years (or so). Just driving around tonight, I'm really blown away at just the devastation I'm seeing."
But horrific as the damage is, Brad is just as emotionally overwhelmed at the neighborly spirit he is witnessing, as the Nashville community has thrown themselves mind, body and spirit into full recovery mode ... to rise above and survive the most devastating flood Nashville has ever experienced.
"You cannot believe the way people are showing up. They're just coming out of nowhere to volunteer when they hear a neighborhood's been hit," Brad said, his voice swelling with pride. "And that's what this town is all about. Just great people. I've lived here since '93 ... and these are some of the most giving folks you will ever meet."
Also coming out of nowhere was a certain phone call Brad received earlier that day from a very important someone ... who wanted to extend his personal reassurance that there was hope and help available for victims of the flood.
"I actually got a call today from President Obama," Brad revealed. "We played at the White House last year when the Opry did a night for country music there. So President Obama wanted to see how the Opry was. He also said it's very important that people realize that FEMA is here. There's actually an 800 number you can call if you've been impacted, or if you need something. You can get in touch with them and they're ready to help.
"I think the government understands what the heritage is in this town. Nashville has to be the kind of place that we preserve."
When asked if he knew the president was calling, lest he were to miss such a call by being in the shower or something, Brad assured with a chuckle that he was indeed given the heads-up.
"It's one of those things where they're asking you, 'Well ... which one of these phones would you like the president to call you on now?' And I'm like, 'Well this one ... and then I'm going to put it in a case!'" he remembered with a laugh. "But I really was pretty shocked!"
More than anything, Brad says he just wants people to know what's going on in the aftermath of the flood, so others can help the community as they continue to work together and rise above the devastation.
"I've been working on my farm, fixing things that got flooded and doing what I can do there ... but I'd love to do more. So we're organizing these events and we have a telethon coming up a week from Sunday with several stars that's going to be broadcast on GAC," Brad reported. "I have no doubt this city will rise."
'Music City Keep On Playin', GAC's national telethon to aid flood victims, will air live on Sunday, May 16 at 10:00 PM ET from the Ryman Auditorium.