Posted by: Steve Aune | May 16, 2009


What does it takes to get thousands of strangers to work together over the course of a week putting in long stressful hours while achieving a common goal.  FIGHTING A FLOOD.

This was my first battle with a flood and I have to say that while the damage is significant, it cannot compare to what the community of Fargo-Moorhead and plenty of others in the area did to fight the rushing water.  It has been six weeks since our last crest and there are still dikes, sandbag walls, yards needing repair.  It will all come together.

Six weeks ago it was pandamonium.  Day in and day out, filling and placing sandbags.  Wading through water to help out people who needed to get their homes protected.  While it was stressful, it was also amazing at the same time.  A truck of sandbags shows up in a neighborhood and no one had to make a phone call.  People started showing up just because they saw a semi load of bags.  Pretty soon there are hundreds of volunteers helping to unload and place the sandbags in the neighborhoods.  I cannot tell you how cool that was to be a part of the community.  Pretty awesome stuff.

Now we have a different fight…what type of flood project should our community put in place to prevent this from happening again?  Not only is there damage to roads, yards, facilities, soccer fields, etc.  There have been people that did not work for over a week and did not get paid.  There are business that were asked to close and missed out on several days of revenue.  There has been undue stress put on families being displaced due to an evacuation or their home was flooded.  There were fatalities of elderly when they were relocated from their care facility.  There are numberous people, me included, who are rehabbing their bodies due to the physical stress that was put on them.  Think about the major impact all of those things had on our community!

I have a vested interest in what is happening with our flood prevention projects since I provide protection for homes.  What is scary to me is that we were getting pretty close to making some decisions to move forward with flood prevention projects.  While I understand that the emotions of losing your home, or fighting to protect your home while there is a dike in back of your house and a contingent one in front of your house, can be very strong, I think homeowners need to really evaluate why they feel they need to live on the volatile river?  Now that we had a SCARE like the one we did, more people from our governmental entities are getting involved and from what I hear the process of a prevention project is slowing down.  It will be 7-10 years before we see a solution to completion. 

That means that for the next 10 years thousands of homeowners will be required to carry flood insurance until a project is completed.  The effect of what just happened here will have worn off and the ones who were significantly impacted by the flood along the river will most likely fight even harder to keep their spot until the next crest.  Where’s the community in that?  I guess we should pray for a 20 year drought.  That would really help out the Ag community and put our little economy in an uproar.

With a community of 180,000, we will never come up with a solution to please everyone.  Those folks who will end up being collateral damage(not to say it lightly) will be taking one for the team to save the hundreds of thousands in the process and that is real community.  We would thank you for that.  What would it take for that to happen?

In ten years when I write again on this topic, I hope to say that we are protected to 45 feet!

To your Abundance!

Steve Aune


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