“There’s no stopping the water. There’s just no way around it.” Alan Reynolds, Ward County Emergency Manager. May 2011, Minot Daily News
I am not always the best at words when in the center of a moment and I have been dreading this post because of the possible emotional reaction I could have to thinking about this summer.
I am much better at action and reaction. I have a few pictures of my last three months in Minot, North Dakota.
This time it started with a few boxes of sandwiches made with a few awesome and very helpful friends for the Airmen traveling out on buses after work from the Air Force Base to help sandbag the dikes and make bags for citizens to protect their houses.
One night we delivered dinner to Burlington City Hall where sandbaggers were still bagging after getting evacuated. They were going to work until they told them they could not add a single bag to the dikes. My husband is the guy in the white shirt and black pants on the end. While we planned out playdates to make food, he woke up every morning at 4 am, went to work at 6 until 6, sandbagged or packed up 17 squadronmates until 11 pm every day.
We brought the food and showed Mikey where Daddy had been during the day. After that he would ask if Daddy was building sand castles to save our city. Broke my heart and still brings me tears. When we left Burlington a Radio Station called us angels because they were running out of food.
This picture is of the water reaching the height of the dikes in Minot.
The next day brought in our first food donations from friends and more meals for sandbaggers. This time it was lunch and dinner. Tons of sandwiches and dishes of pasta left my tiny kitchen at a speed many restaurants would be jealous of.
This was how people who could not bag could help out. We had jobs, had kids with us, some had injuries and some needed to be able to see they could still do something great. Hell, all of us needed to see that we could still help.
Life’s a Batch by Nicole Cleghorn posted great pictures and words explaining the devastating situation our town was in around June 24th. Since that moment, so much has changed for our town and life. Our town evacuated 14,000 women, children and men into shelters, tents and houses of friends in the area. We moved large furniture twice to safety during evacuations in the beginning and middle of June 2011, attempting to help minimize damages even when the worst was unstoppable.
Minot evacuation deadline moved from 10 p.m. Wednesday to 6 p.m. Wednesday.
Wed., 22nd Sirens sound to evacuate all Minot flood zones, Souris flow at Estevan is 25,063 cfs. The moment when sirens sounded on television and radios sent my mind into a controlled panic. I had to find a way to help more, it could not stop when the sandbagging ended. Firefighters, National Guard, Police, truckers, and health professionals were working hard, why should we give up on them. We also received a phone call that overwhelms me still. The National Guard and the Emergency Operations Center needed dinner. The day they closed the main road in our town, we were dropping off meals for 160 National Guard and 40 Emergency Operation Center workers that needed bottled water immediately for dikeworkers. We served them with my four burner stove, out of 12 foot kitchen.
Once it was decided that life needed to slow down in our house, anything left went to filling up the Salvation Army pantry.
Another picture of our roommate’s house. We did what we could when we could for as long as we could. I think that is why it was extraordinary. 65 Volunteers helped us serve our community. I just came up with the idea and ran very far with it. Now it is time to move to the next need for our town because the flood fight will not end because the summer is over. People will be fighting the flood in FEMA trailers and RVs until they are back home, we are supposed to fight for them just as long also. It is part of being a great community, how communities become family.
A very great friend of mine posted on the flood while it was happening around us, please take a look at what she said.