Water is still standing in many places along the Mississippi River. OBI disaster relief teams are on-scene in Lincoln County, Mo. helping homeowners remove debris and start the cleanup process.
LINCOLN COUNTY, Mo. - There's a secret weapon to fighting the swollen Mississippi River and it doesn't have anything to do with sandbags or building berms.
It's all about patience, time and dedication.
That's something Jody Herrington has plenty of.
As director for U.S. disaster relief for Operation Blessing, Herrington and her crew have been on-scene aiding people affected by the floods in the Midwest since the onset of the storms.
Earlier this month, she moved the disaster relief teams from Terra Haute, Indiana down the Mississippi River to Lincoln County, Missouri. The region has already been declared a major disaster area.
OBI teams spent three weeks in the flood-ravaged region of Indiana and coordinated 2,690 volunteers hours of service valued at more than $45,000. The teams are now in need of more volunteers, both local and out of town, to aid in home recovery efforts including pumping water out of basements, gutting interiors, as well as debris and mud removal.
Herrington connected with the Missouri State Emergency Management Agency. The agency requested OBI provide reconnaissance for specific towns located on the river, specifically the cities of Winfield and Foley in Lincoln County, where more than 300 houses were flooded.
"We visited with a local homeowner whose house is still flooded with standing water," Herrington said. "When we asked her where the riverbank normally is, she pointed and said, ‘three and a half miles that way.'"
OBI also met with the Lincoln County Emergency Manager who asked OBI, AmeriCorps and Service International to coordinate all of the volunteers and recovery work for the entire community.
Earlier this month, OBI disaster relief teams moved from Terra Haute, Indiana down the Mississippi River to Lincoln County, Missouri. The region has already been declared a major disaster area.
For Ronny and Pat, of Winfield, the help came at just the right time.
The couple's home was flooded with three feet of water and they had already started the cleanup process. However, the duo didn't know they needed to rip out all the old sheet rock and other damaged areas before they could put in the new material.
"They were going to put new sheetrock on waterlogged rock which would have created a huge mold problem," Herrington said.
Ronny, who is suffering from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, is retired and poured much of his time into perfecting the home. His wife works for a local bank and the couple was already struggling to make ends meet.
"Operation Blessing is able to help this couple who is struggling and could not otherwise afford to pay for the help," Herrington said.
Want to get involved?
Anyone from the Lincoln County area wishing to volunteer should meet at the Winfield High School (701 Elm St), in the gravel parking lot, every morning by 8:00am. Teams will deploy at 8:15 a.m. with an OBI construction foreman.
Volunteers from anywhere else in the U.S. wishing to come and help must register at least 24 hours in advance by either calling the Operation Blessing International volunteer hotline at (757) 374-0944 between 9:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m. (EST), or by sending an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Out of town volunteers must be at least 18 years old and must provide their own transportation. OBI will provide lodging, food, work equipment and work coordination for the length of stay. Out of town volunteers must register in teams of at least 2 persons (no single volunteers accepted). The workday is from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
HOW YOU CAN HELP
You can help by making an online donation toward OBI's disaster relief efforts. With your support, we can continue to provide emergency relief and recovery. Please make an on-line donation today.
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