United We Sand!
In case you haven't heard the national news over the past two weeks, I'll let you know that my Fargo-Moorhead community has been in the spotlight as we've been battling our Red River which decided to reach the highest level it ever has in history.
In 1997 we were close to the highest level ever, and that's the year that Grand Forks, about 75 miles upstream (the Red River flows north) was devastated and forced to rebuild.
We had 3 weeks' notice to shore up our dikes and get things in place in 1997; we had 8 days this time, but we did it. With amazing help from friends from all over the country who came to help, we filled 3 million sandbags and built dikes and filled HESCO dikes and evacuated people and made meals and in essence, saved the community.
There were some folks who had water in their homes and some that may or may not be able to go back to their homes. But considering that this was the worst flooding we've ever seen in our community, we did pretty well.
There are so many stories to share - one search of YouTube or Google will turn up thousands of entries from all over. But the main story is the power of a community dedicated to helping each other - and to the beauty of strangers coming from all over to help people they don't even know.
I heard a quote sometime during this 2-week whirlwind: "We're our best during the worst circumstances and at our worst during the best circumstances." Although crisis situations do tend to bring out the best in humanity, I'm just not convinced that it has to be that way. We have a great opportunity to prove that we can be our best during the best circumstances as well - and we can learn from so many things that happened during this flood.
I'm really looking forward to seeing how people will choose to bring their best assets and their strengths now as our community faces the cleanup after the amazing folks who helped us in the worst circumstances have returned to their own communities.
My friend Brenda Levos is a very creative graphic designer who has found a way to use her strengths to help the community in recovery mode. She has designed a line of T-shirts, caps, stickers, etc. to commemorate the flood, with proceeds going to Impact GiveBack, a local foundation which will help with the recovery. She shows us a great example of using creativity to give back!
Here is the latest in Lee Hoedl's montage (he's actually done 10 of these chronicling the history). Today is sunny and snow is beginning to melt: this video was produced on Tuesday (2 days ago). Amazing the difference a day can make in this situation! Check out more of Lee's videos on YouTube.