Posts Tagged ‘football’
Having grown up in an area, in Louisiana, that is at the mercy of Mother Nature, this story reminds me of how good it feels when a community comes together.
As the swelling Red River lapped within 30 feet of his back door, Carlis Kramer’s property resembled nothing so much as a bustling construction site.In a well-ordered ballet, four people loaded sandbags, four others hauled them to the house and another person stacked them into a dike.
This is how Fargo responds to the threat of record flooding: Hundreds of people from all walks of life have joined forces to shield the community from the rising river, racing to fill 2 million sandbags.
The effort has drawn football players, soldiers, high school students, even a Microsoft engineer — all fearful of enduring another disaster like the devastating floods of 1997.
“A friend of mine brought his neighbor’s kids, and friends of family bring boyfriends and girlfriends,” Kramer said.
The 1997 floods forced tens of thousands of people to flee homes in North Dakota, Minnesota and southern Canada in one of the costliest and largest flood evacuations in U.S. history before Hurricane Katrina. The disaster killed 11 people in the Dakotas and Minnesota and caused an estimated $4.1 billion in damage.
In Fargo, Noah Addy was among dozens of volunteers who gathered around huge sand piles at the Fargodome indoor football stadium to shovel sand into bags.
While most workers needed two hands to drag the bags onto piles, the muscular Addy tossed them like they were pillows.
A native of Ghana, he moved to Fargo about eight years ago for college. Now an engineer for Microsoft, he did not hesitate when the company offered its Fargo employees time off to help.
“I didn’t experience the 1997 flood, but everybody told me how bad it was, so I feel that helping is the right thing to do,” Addy said.
Not far away, near a home in south Fargo, Phil Hansen handled sandbags as easily as Addy.
Hansen grew up in North Dakota, then went on to play pro football for the Buffalo Bills. In his playing days, Hansen teamed with Bruce Smith to form one of the NFL’s best pass-rushing duos.
On Tuesday, Hansen’s mouth was bloody from the work.
“I bit my tongue, and I haven’t stopped bleeding for two hours,” said Hansen, who now lives in nearby Detroit Lakes, Minn. “It feels good to help, though.”
Read more and watch this story: In Race Against River, Fargo Pulls Together