April 10, 2011
Headwaters Relief Organization sent a group of eight volunteers to the Fargo / Moorhead area on April 7th, in response to the threat of Red River flooding in the region. While there, the volunteers worked on the sandbagging efforts.
Patty Smith, Program Director with Zenith Services, led this group. The following are from her reflections on the trip:
“We left the Metro Office in two vehicles and arrived in Moorhead at about 9:45 AM. After checking in at the volunteer headquarters, we were taken by bus to a residential home with other volunteers, most of whom were from the Fargo / Moorhead area.
Upon arriving, we got into line and began passing sandbags down a line of other volunteers to form a wall. The wall was built to the 41′ mark and was inspected for safety by officials.
The homeowners in the area were very appreciative and offered the volunteers food and water.
We stayed and worked until about 5:00 PM, returned to the volunteer headquarters and then left for the Twin Cities.
Everyone there worked very hard and had a positive attitude throughout the day.”
Stacey Werner, Program Manager with Zenith Services, shared the following thoughts about the group’s volunteer work:
“Sandbagging in the Moorhead area was an encouraging experience in humanity. I met a woman who lived in the Fargo area and after she had finished sandbagging her own community, she came over to Moorhead to help that community as well. There were numerous high school students helping people they didn’t know to build dikes around their homes. The homeowner we were helping prepared a warm meal for the volunteers working near her home. The people we were working side by side with were surprised to learn that we came all the way from Minneapolis to help them save their community from the rising flood waters. I would do it all again.”
While in Moorhead, Patty Smith was interviewed by Dave Olson whose article appeared in The Forum of Fargo-Moorhead on April 8th. The text of the article was as follows:
Twin Cities Volunteers Assist Moorhead in Dike Building
Members of a Twin Cities nonprofit that assists with disaster relief around the world pitched in to help build dikes in south Moorhead Thursday. The eight members of Headwaters Relief Organization who rolled into town early Thursday spent the morning sandbagging in a neighborhood at 37th Avenue South. “We were here in 2009 as well, for both the bagging and the cleanup,” said Patty Smith, a Headwaters volunteer. Smith said the group helps out in many spots crippled by disasters, including Haiti and New Orleans. “We still have people who go to New Orleans on a fairly regular basis,” said Smith, adding that the work there involves gutting homes destroyed by Hurricane Katrina. “Insurance doesn’t usually pay anything until the house has been gutted,” she explained. The story in Haiti is different. “We work in orphanages, identifying needs that they have, like helping to feed people,” Smith said.