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Pierce County residents give Minot neighbors a hand

By Staff | Aug 26, 2011

Minot knew that it didn’t look good when spring flooding began, but little did they know at the time that they would have to evacuate twice. Nor did they know right away what they would return to after the waters subsided.

The reality of the Souris (Mouse) River overflowing its banks in May and again in June is that 12,000 people had to evacuate their homes and businesses. The flood was bad enough, but the aftermath of gutting homes, closing businesses, dealing with mold and dirt everywhere, and trying to maintain jobs, and get on with life is overwhelming.

Many, many people are on waiting lists to get help with their homes for both manpower and money. It may take up to a year or more to get money to help rebuild homes, but in the meantime, people from all over are helping their neighbors. Church members, non-profit organizations’ members, strangers who have been through challenges of their own, and family and friends have come forward to volunteer time and muscle to help.

Pierce County residents are among these volunteers.

Hunter Parcel, a sophomore at Rugby High School, joined a group of youth volunteers who had traveled from Oklahoma to help Minot residents. He met them at his church, St. Paul Lutheran, which provided a place for the youth to stay, as there was no place in Minot.

Parcel, along with a church youth group, worked on the 9th ward in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina so he did have a bit of experience cleaning up after a disaster.

“One thing I noticed about the two disasters is that in New Orleans, people were sitting around waiting for someone to help them. In Minot residents kept doing what they could to help themselves and their neighbors, ” said Parcel.

Parcel said that the Oklahoma youth were great. He said the group worked from 7 a.m. – 7 p.m. gutting houses. “They all worked hard and were happy to help,” Parcel added.

“I went into one (house) with the people’s stuff still in it,” said Parcel. “It was stuff passed down from generation to generation, but now was going to have to be thrown away.”

It really made him think about their losses. He added that everywhere he looked there were 7′ piles of stuff on the berm.

Minot keeps a list of all residents who need help and matches the needs to the volunteers skills. It is called All Hands and is located in the lobby of the Civic Auditorium in Minot.

That’s where Little Flower Church in Rugby volunteers were matched to residents who needed their help. The church, with Fr. Tom Graner at the helm, has taken 4-6 volunteers to Minot at least three times already. Graner hopes to go back. The groups carried out personal belongings, pulled up carpets and tore down sheetrock. LuAnn Johnson who farms between Knox and Wolford was one of those volunteers. She said, ” At the end of the day, I thought to myself, I get to go home, these people have to stay and live this every day.”

Rather than mention everyone from Pierce County who has gone to help, suffice it to say several individuals as well as area churches and organizations have given of their time and raised money for Minot.

Maurus and Sandy Brossart, Barton, evacuated their daughter, Lindsey and her husband, Chad Geisinger twice during the Mouse River Flood. The first time was on May 31 when the Brossarts took a farm truck and loaded up the Geisingers belongings. Shortly after, they cleaned carpets and Chad painted the nursery for their first child due in October and the couple moved back in.

On June 21 at about 10 p.m. the Brossarts got a call to come back and evacuate their daughter again. Sandy called her son who farms nearby to come and help. As luck would have it, he hit a deer with his vehicle on his way to this parents’ farm. They all got to Minot about 11:30 p.m. and began loading a second time.

The Geisingers got 7′ of water in their condo.

“We were just up in Minot getting it cleared out and gutted, said Sandy. The Geisingers plan to rebuild as they both have jobs in Minot. As for the new little boy they are expecting to join the family soon, grandma Sandy says with a laugh, his mom said he will not be named Noah.

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