It was eighteen above zero and snow in Fargo this morning. Record high flood forecast on the Red River of the North in the Southern Valley. I went down to Fargo, from Grand Forks (70 miles north), to help my sister’s family empty out their basement. They live in the southern subdivision of Osgood. The blare of heavy equipment resounded throughout the neighborhood as I pulled in, feverishly building an earthen dike as a secondary defense roughly six to eight blocks North of their house. In hurry up mode here, you only move what is irreplaceable – family pictures, cherished belongings of your children when they were young, personal belongings from your life – the rest (TVs, furniture) is just stuff.
As I was leaving the Osgood neighborhood, a steady stream of volunteers marched into the area to bolster the sandbag dikes. Young and old alike working side-by-side to accomplish a greater good – save their community. But for many it wasn’t even their community. Volunteers from throughout the region came to this community to help in its time of need. There is often no reason to be there other than “I heard they needed help”. No questions, no bitching.
Heading to North Fargo, my other sister lives about 8 blocks from the river. The secondary dike there is roughly 2 blocks away from her house. She is heavily involved in emergency preparedness through her work at the local hospital and had her basement cleared out. I was dropping off an emergency generator, submersible sump pump and other supplies hoping that they won’t be needed. Parked in their driveway I saw buses filled with volunteers coming down the clay and snow covered street joined by others walking to the area. Don’t impede emergency vehicles and semis loaded with sandbags – other street traffic was at a minimum.
Why does this region rock? If you saw the resolve of these volunteers, National Guard, Red Cross and emergency personnel and their willingness and ability to work together, help their neighbors and work collaboratively to defend their community you wouldn’t need to ask.