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It’s been a couple of days since Nashville was struck by a tornado early Tuesday morning. Dan Smyers of Dan + Shay lives in East Nashville, which is one of the hardest-hit areas, but as he explains on Instagram, it took him a while to process what had happened.

In a heartfelt and lengthy post he said, “East Nashville has been our home for the last 7 years, and it will forever hold the most special place in our hearts. Just the other day, a tornado mercilessly ripped through the streets, leaving homes and families in utter despair. The day after it happened, I struggled to process the fact that lives were lost, and many of the places that @abbysmyers and i frequented, no longer existed.”

He continued, “I distracted myself deep in a 16-hour tour rehearsal, pretending like nothing was wrong, but today it became real, and knew we needed to help. We drove to our first home, and could barely keep it together, as we pulled up and saw the damage. As bad as the damage was, it paled in comparison to our neighbors, who had lost everything. people, of all kinds, selflessly gathered in each yard, banding together with complete strangers, to help. But as painful as it was to see the destruction in person, we saw the light of humanity shine through. I watched adults pulling bricks from the crumbled remains of a home, passing them up a hill, to create a pile manageable for clean-up. I watched a woman walking around with a box twice her size, offering hot lunches and water bottles to anyone in need. I watched a group of young girls walk from yard to yard offering homemade cookies that they had baked for volunteers who might need a snack. I watched a man with a chainsaw dismantle a gigantic tree that had fallen through a roof, and branch by branch, people carried it away until there was nothing left. Even though it may take years to rebuild, the spirit of east Nashville is far from broken.”

Dan closed saying, “This community has given me so much throughout the last decade, and I’m overwhelmingly proud to see it standing so strong, even in the most trying of times. East Nashville, we will always love you, and promise to always have your back.”

east nashville has been our home for the last 7 years, and it will forever hold the most special place in our hearts. just the other day, a tornado mercilessly ripped through the streets, leaving homes and families in utter despair. the day after it happened, i struggled to process the fact that lives were lost, and many of the places that @abbysmyers and i frequented, no longer existed. i distracted myself deep in a 16-hour tour rehearsal, pretending like nothing was wrong, but today it became real, and knew we needed to help. we drove to our first home, and could barely keep it together, as we pulled up and saw the damage. as bad as the damage was, it paled in comparison to our neighbors, who had lost everything. people, of all kinds, selflessly gathered in each yard, banding together with complete strangers, to help. but as painful as it was to see the destruction in person, we saw the light of humanity shine through. i watched adults pulling bricks from the crumbled remains of a home, passing them up a hill, to create a pile manageable for clean-up. i watched a woman walking around with a box twice her size, offering hot lunches and water bottles to anyone in need. i watched a group of young girls walk from yard to yard offering homemade cookies that they had baked for volunteers who might need a snack. i watched a man with a chainsaw dismantle a gigantic tree that had fallen through a roof, and branch by branch, people carried it away until there was nothing left. even though it may take years to rebuild, the spirit of east nashville is far from broken. this community has given me so much throughout the last decade, and i'm overwhelmingly proud to see it standing so strong, even in the most trying of times. east nashville, we will always love you, and promise to always have your back.

24.6k Likes, 192 Comments - Dan Smyers (@dansmyers) on Instagram: "east nashville has been our home for the last 7 years, and it will forever hold the most special..."