HARTSBURG — Wednesday afternoon, volunteers from Hartsburg and neighboring communities endured the summer heat as they continued filling sandbags to the tune of Queen’s “We Are the Champions.”
Like other river communities over the past two weeks, Hartsburg has participated in off-and-on sandbag efforts to keep rising floodwaters from reaching the town.
“Over the last two weeks, we have as a community filled probably 20,000 sandbags — and that’s all manual filling,” Hartsburg resident Michela Skelton said.
With the help of a sandbagging machine from the Army Corps of Engineers, the goal is another 10,000s-20,000, she said.
Fending off floodwaters is no simple feat and continues to take a toll on the daily lives of those within and around the community.
Skelton, who was among the many volunteers taking off work to help sandbag Wednesday, said it has even forced people out of their homes."There have been a lot of folks who have actually moved out of their homes and put all their belongings into storage units because they’re afraid of the ‘93 flood happening all over again,” she said.
Hartsburg Mayor Bill Molendorp said many members of the community have also moved their farm equipment to higher ground.
“As you go up Highway A out of town — the only way you can get out — you’ll see all the farm equipment along the sides of the roads parked everywhere,” Molendorp said.
Although flooding has disrupted the status quo in Hartsburg, the help from volunteers in and around the town illustrates the strong sense of community that remains.
“It’s really encouraging,” Skelton said. “That’s when you really see what a community is really made of — when there is a hardship or when there is something bad that’s happening and they come together.”
In Huntsdale, flooding on the Missouri River has also disrupted day-to-day life as it seeps into the town, submerging roads and businesses.
“It’s really hard to get from place to place,” resident Mike Tompkins said. “When we try to drive, the road’s flooded, so we have to go the long way around.”
Danny James, who raised his children in Huntsdale and formerly lived in McBaine, where flooding has reached historic levels, said he has never seen flooding in town the way it is now.
“It’s something new, and I’ve lived here 50 years,” James said.
Community members also worry for businesses like The Station House at Katfish Katy’s, where floodwaters have engulfed much of the property.
“I’m a businessman, so it makes me feel bad for the people,” Tompkins said. “I mean they’re obviously not doing well, so hopefully it’ll go down quick and get back to normal.”
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