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Wells, Clifton Get First-Hand Look At Tennessee Flooding


Green Bay Packers center Scott Wells considers himself blessed.

During the major flooding that hit the Nashville area last week, Wells' home just outside of Nashville in Brentwood, Tenn., is high enough on a hill that it escaped significant flood damage.

But when Wells - who splits his residence between Green Bay and Brentwood - went back home last weekend, he got a first-hand look at the devastation others are dealing with. He took some time last Friday to lend a hand cleaning up in Bellevue, one of the hardest-hit neighborhoods in west Nashville where some family friends live.

"It was an entire neighborhood, and all the houses were totaled," Wells said. "The water had receded, but you could see on the drywall where it had been. Up to my shoulder was the waterline."

Wells and a friend lent some muscle in the neighborhood to help haul out larger pieces of furniture - entertainment centers, sofas, recliners, etc. - that others couldn't move themselves.

He spent a fair amount of time at one house where the owner, a single man, lost not only his home but his business in the flood.

"He was a carpenter and all his tools were flooded," Wells said. "He lost everything. He had all the table saws and power tools in his garage. His garage was full of water on Monday and Tuesday.

"The sad thing is all those people are decimated. How do you plan for that? How do you plan to have to replace all your possessions, from water. A fire? You have fire insurance. But nobody had flood insurance. That's what's heartbreaking is they're all working-class families and they lost everything."

Large portions of middle Tennessee flooded early last week when areas received anywhere from 1 to 2 feet of rainfall in a 48-hour period.

Wells, who has been returning to Tennessee every weekend during the offseason program, had flown back to Green Bay last Sunday just as the flooding was starting. After his week of workouts here, he flew back to Nashville on Thursday night and everything had changed.

"When you come through the high elevation of the hills, all the houses were fine," Wells said. "But as soon as you start crossing into the low elevation, it looked like a war zone. Everybody's furniture, dry wall, insulation -- it looked like they had just gutted every house -- was sitting on the side of the road and there were garbage trucks coming one house at a time, picking stuff up, because there was that much stuff.

"They say it's the largest flood in recorded history there. There hadn't been one in over 500 years. It's bad."

One of those elevated houses in Bellevue that fortunately was OK was that of the brother of fellow offensive lineman Chad Clifton.

Clifton said his brother's house was fine and his sister's house had some flooding in the garage, but nothing major. Clifton, who lives primarily in Green Bay, owns two pieces of property in the area, a house in Nashville and a farm about 45 minutes south of the city, near Franklin, Tenn.

He said the only damage to the house was a leaky roof but the farm was another story. That area got around 20 inches of rain and thanks to a creek that runs through the front side of the property, the driveway was washed out, he lost about 50 percent of his fence, and the barn flooded, but the farmhouse itself was fine.

{sportsad300}He added that none of the three tanks on his property - a propane tank, a diesel tank and another fuel tank - was spared. The propane tank washed about a mile and a half down the creek, the diesel tank (which he said was half full) ended up 200 yards away from where it originally sat, and he still doesn't know where the third tank is.

The flood also has brought all kinds of debris from branches and trees down the creek to his property. A wooden suspension bridge from a neighbor's farm about a mile up the road ended up in the front field of Clifton's place.

Still, relative to the plight of others who live in lower-lying areas and don't have the resources of a professional athlete, Clifton, like Wells, considered himself and his family pretty lucky.

"My farm got a little bit of damage but really nothing compared to some of the people down there who lost absolutely everything," Clifton said.

Both players were back in Green Bay on Monday. Clifton leaves on the annual "Tailgate Tour" with President/CEO Mark Murphy and three teammates on Tuesday morning. Wells is putting in another week of workouts and will head back to Tennessee again, like usual, for the weekend.

"There's still a lot of work to be done, may try to do some more work on Fridays when I'm there and my kids are in school," he said. "It's going to be a long recovery process.

"The community is close. They'll pull together and come through it."

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