Climate Change Weather

Helping Hand

Recovered from the Wayback Machine.

Update Unfortunately, there was one levee outside of Winfield we couldn’t save.

second update Steve Ley, one of the two men in the photograph in the post, also wrote of today’s experience.

third update The Salvation Army has set up a localized fund to help flood victims in Missouri.

I wish I could say I acquitted myself well sandbagging today, but I really was a wuss.

I arrived at the high school in Winfield a little after 2 to find a bustling sandbagging operation underway. However, rather than dig in, we new volunteers had to wait in line to get a badge with picture. After over half an hour standing in the sun, the powers that be evidently decided they were in danger of losing volunteers because they let those who had ID start work.

Later, I found that the place did have prisoners from a local prison helping, so I’m assuming the security was related to them. Otherwise, our country has gotten a little too paranoid if we’re worried about protecting piles of dirt.

I partnered immediately with a man who was on his second day of sandbagging and a young woman (Breanna, who said hi in comments) who lived in the local area, both of whom had extraordinary energy, as well as being enjoyable to be around. I didn’t get a picture of the man, but I did Breanna. Behind her were twins who also partnered with us when they weren’t hauling bags to pallets.


Next to us were two gentlemen who also had come up from St. Louis, Dogtown to be exact. They were a great deal of fun, and we found that we shared a lot in common, including careers in tech, and possibly even people who we mutually knew in the tech/online world. Talk about small world. I also think they bagged about 10 bags for every one I helped fill. Still, I like to think that there’s a levee somewhere, just about to fail when one last sandbag is placed on the top, keeping that last drop of water out. And I’ll have filled that bag.

Well, maybe I am being a tad fanciful.


Following is a wider view of the operation. As you can see from the mounds of sandbags, people came to work, and work they did.


Tonight I’m sunburned, with a headache that just won’t go away. However, I think I can drag my butt out tomorrow, early in the morning this time, and see if I can’t fill that last bag that saves that last levee.

In the meantime, the American Red Cross is out of money. Our country has had some difficult times in the last few years, people aren’t donating as much, and the result is that the American Red Cross is now having to borrow in order to help the folks in the Midwest. Not to mention that we’re only now heading into hurricane season.

I know you’re broke, I’m broke, we’re all broke and gas and food prices are horrid, but if you can see your way to dropping a few dollars into the Red Cross bin, you’d be helping a lot of people who have lost everything.

If the Red Cross is not your bag, and you want to help a more local organization, the Missouri Humane Society is known nationally for its pet recovery and sanctuary during weather events such as floods. The organization was in Iowa rescuing pets, and now is working to help people in Illinois and Missouri not only by actively rescuing pets trapped in the floods, but also by taking in pets for those who have no place to keep them.

If you can find your way to help out a little, I promise I’ll bag more sand. I’ll even name a bag after you. Who knows, maybe yours will be the bag that stopped the drop of water that saved the levee that saved the town.


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