Adrian residents get outside helpThe view from Doris Rode’s window is a little different today. For weeks, white, gray and dust-colored sandbags encircled the 90-year-old home, protecting it from the swollen James River. Like Rode, many of Adrian’s residents experienced flooding in late-March and again in mid-April.
By: Katie Ryan, The Jamestown Sun
ADRIAN, N.D. — The view from Doris Rode’s window is a little different today.
For weeks, white, gray and dust-colored sandbags encircled the 90-year-old home, protecting it from the swollen James River.
Like Rode, many of Adrian’s residents experienced flooding in late-March and again in mid-April.
But after preparation comes fighting and after fighting, clean up.
The population of Adrian nearly doubled Wednesday as more than 30 volunteers poured into the town of about 50, hauling sandbags from Rode’s house and Trinity Lutheran Church and emptying them into a homemade mountain.
Adrian had received volunteer help before but most of it came from neighboring towns and villages like Montpelier, Dickey, Marion and Jamestown. Wednesday’s help traveled farther — 927 miles to be exact.
About 30 students and staff from Grand Haven High School, Grand Haven, Mich. bused the 15 hours to Adrian as part of a mission trip organized by National Relief Network.
National Relief Network organizes mission trips like Grand Haven’s to help people with clean up after a federal disaster declaration, said Mary Skelonc, volunteer coordinator for NRN.
For the Grand Haven group, that disaster zone was North Dakota. The students moved and emptied sandbags Wednesday, cleaned fences and farmyards in Dickey Thursday and are expected to return to Adrian for more work sanitizing basements and gutting garages and today.
“They don’t travel 15 hours to get here and then stand around and look,” Skelonc said.
And while students joked of achy bodies and once-yellow shirts that reeked of dust Wednesday, they needed encouragement just to take a break.
“We gotta make sure this crew that’s out here gets a break and out of the sun,” said Teacher John Mauro to another group leader. “They’ve been working really hard.”
The students on the trip are part of an extra-curricular group called Interact Club, he said. The group serves its community throughout each semester, and annually takes a trip organized by NRN.
This year’s trip made a difference for Adrian residents like Pat Rode (Doris’ daughter-in-law).
Six inches of flood water inundated Rode’s home last month and in both March and April, the James River flooded the home of her son and his wife, Lucas and Shawna Rode.
In fact, the water-level in Lucas’ basement still stands about 4 feet deep.
“There’s so few bright spots in all of this,” Pat Rode said. “They (the volunteers) are one of the bright spots.”
For Grand Haven students like Alicia Cadena and Jeanne Sherman, both juniors, helping in Adrian was the right thing to do, and it was a good time too.
“It’s what a good person should do,” said Senior Kalee Mancilla.
Adrian residents have done some of their own clean up, but even with the help of the Grand Haven group, the work is far from over.
Pat and her husband, Loren, knocked at least 6 inches of plasterboard out of the walls after the water seeped through sandbags. The couple is still working on those repairs. Sandbags still surround the house and skid-steer tires left earthen tracks where landscaping used to be.
The family plans to build a permanent dike around the outside of the home and also reroute the driveway to prevent flooding in the future, Pat Rode said.
Lucas and Shawna Rode don’t know the status of their home yet or how much work they’ll need to do, Pat Rode said. The couple and their 18 month-old-son have been homeless since March and don’t know if the house will ever be livable again.
Now, they wait for the water to recede, Pat Rode said.
Federal Emergency Management Representatives can‘t assess the house until the basement is dry. Until FEMA makes its assessment, Lucas and Shawna don’t know how much aid, if any, they’ll receive.
But even with all the work to do, every effort from the volunteers helps, Pat Rode said.
“Every little step you make is one little step back to normalcy,” she said.
Sun reporter Katie Ryan can be reached at 701-952-8454 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org