Governor spends a day in the trenches
Like many families in Minot on June 21, Minot State University Disability Services coordinator Evelyn Klimpel, her husband Gaylon and son Clifford had mixed feelings leaving their home for a second time in less than a month. They had hastily moved out what they could, given the short evacuation notice and moved up the rest - well out of the way of the impending flood water. Or so they thought.
When they were allowed back home July 7, the Klimpels were saddened by the waterline six feet high on the main floor. They'd lost everything they'd moved up.
"We'd put stuff up, thinking the water wouldn't get that high," Evelyn said. "It was just unbelievable to see all the damage to all the stuff we couldn't take."
"When I first saw the house, I thought where do I even start?" Gaylon added. "This house has been in my family since 1973. There are a lot of memories here."
Cleanup was overwhelming and proved too much to tackle alone, so the Klimpels called the Minot Recovery Coordination Center and were put on a waiting list for assistance from a team of volunteers. The center coordinates the needs of families with the skills of volunteers.
Wednesday (July 27) help arrived in curious fashion: Gov. Jack Dalrymple and 10 state employees showed up ready to clear debris from their home.
"It's a blessing to have this help," Gaylon said. "It would take a long time with only the two of us. We're excited the governor is here to see what is going on."
Due to unprecedented flooding along the Mouse and Des Lacs rivers, Dalrymple has asked state agency directors to allow employees one day to volunteer in Minot and the surrounding area where many residents are left with flood-damaged homes. He encouraged business leaders to allow their employees time to volunteer as well. Presently there are over 1,000 sites waiting for volunteer assistance.
"Cleanup will take a lot of people working for a very short time," Dalrymple said. "If left too long, the situation will become a public safety and health risk for the state. There is no short cut: it's going to take large numbers of people, but we'll get there. This is what North Dakotans do," he added.
"We're asking everybody to find a day to help. This effort is well-organized with team leaders trained in emergency cleanup. Tools and supplies are available; we just need people."
To schedule volunteer service and learn how to prepare for flood-recovery work, register with the Minot Recovery Coordination Center online at www.minotnd.org or call (701) 858-9366.