Welsh volunteers in Minot, says more help is neededOne Jamestown resident spent three weeks assisting clean up efforts in Minot. While he has several stories to tell, he said he has one important message: the city needs more help.
One Jamestown resident spent three weeks assisting clean up efforts in Minot. While he has several stories to tell, he said he has one important message: the city needs more help.
Souris River flooding damaged 4,100 homes in Minot and forced more than 11,000 people to leave temporarily, officials have estimated. Many residents have taken up temporary housing in emergency shelters or with family and friends.
Salvation Army volunteer Bob Welsh traveled there last month, spending 20 days delivering meals, setting up distribution sites and servicing vehicles.
Newspapers covering the flood print pictures of homes so waterlogged, every possession inside is wet. Water neared the roofs of some houses. Many of the damaged homes are unsafe for families to move back in.
“It’s just been kind of lost (in the media),” Welsh said. “You don’t read about it, but it’s a tremendous need yet.”
And while the need for work is great, the time to do it is not. As the cold months loom, Minot residents may have to wait until the next calendar year before their homes are ready for their return, Welsh said.
“I think that’s the big need that looms on the horizon ... what is everyone going to do?” he said.
Welsh is the only Salvation Army volunteer from Jamestown to volunteer there so far. Lt. Teresa Brecto of the Jamestown Salvation Army is set to join the Incident Command Team as an Emotional Spiritual Care Officer next week. The Salvation Army is also handing out $250 in vouchers to families affected by flood. In one weekend, the church supplied $50,000 worth, according to Minot Daily News reports.
“It’s not only handing out food and things they need,” Welsh said, offering a camera with pictures of Salvation Army truck brigades, volunteers in red jackets and homes with 10-foot dikes which still suffered water damage. “But it’s offering hope.”
Salvation Army Administrative Assistant Fran Geisler agreed.
“Anyone that can help for a day or two, it’s a big help,” she said.
The Salvation Army and American Red Cross teamed up to serve meals in flooded neighborhoods. But volunteers are needed for more tasks than just that, said Katherine Clements, project coordinator with All Hands Volunteers, a charitable organization based out of Massachusetts. Clements is coordinating the Minot Recovery Coordination Center.
Clements said everyone is nervous about winter’s approach.
“We’d love to wrap this up in a month but unfortunately, I don’t think it’s going to happen,” she said.
Although volunteers are needed for a number of tasks, the most critical need is for people to gut buildings and haul debris.
“The primary need is for manual labor,” she said.
Volunteers should register with the Minot Recovery Coordination Center. The center’s coordinators know where and when volunteers are needed most. Register to volunteer online at www.minotnd.org or by calling 701-858-9366. The Minot Recovery Coordination Center is located in the Minot Municipal Auditorium, 420 Third Ave. SW. The center is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday through Monday.
To volunteer with the Salvation Army, call 701-509-6992.
Sun reporter Katie Ryan-Anderson can be reached at 701-952-8454 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org