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Dalrymple get hands dirty in flood cleanup

MINOT (AP) -- Gov. Jack Dalrymple isn't asking North Dakota residents to do more than he's willing to do himself to help flood victims in Minot: He put on a face mask, grabbed a hammer and spent much of Wednesday helping gut a house.

"I wanted to see exactly what the challenge is here," he said. "It's miserable work. It's terrible. You don't have lights so you crawl into a closet that's full of mud and wet things that you can't identify. This is something that nobody would want to be doing, but if we spread the job out over thousands of people, it makes it possible."

Souris River flooding damaged 4,100 homes and forced more than 11,000 people to leave temporarily, officials have estimated.

Dalrymple ha­s directed state agencies to free up their employees for a day or two to help with the cleanup and asked businesses to do the same.

"It's not something you can keep up for days on end so it takes more people willing to donate a day of their time," he said.

Cleanup also isn't a task that homeowners can do alone, not only because of the type of work but scope involved.

"After you work on it for five minutes you realize this is way beyond what one individual, or really an individual family, would really be able to take on," Dalrymple said.

Dalrymple and others from the governor's office helped homeowners Gaylon and Evelyn Klimpel.

"We would not have been able to do it without them," Evelyn Klimpel said. "It would take us a really long time."

The helpfulness of other people has been sustaining them as they go through the recovery process, she said.

"We loved our home. We worked very hard on it. We put all our money into our home, and it was very comfortable. It's just sad to see it," she said.

The frustration and exhaustion in starting over led them to put the property up for sale. It's been in their family since 1973.

Dalrymple said there are 1,000 sites on a list requesting volunteers through the coordinating agency Helping Hands.