April 8, 2009

Answering the call for assistance

By Tina Foreman
Farmer Staff Writer

After a brief fight with flooding from Cherry Creek and the Little Missouri River, it seems that the worst is over in McKenzie County. But that isn’t the case everywhere. Other counties in the state are cleaning up from major spring flooding and worrying about what is yet to come.
One Watford City resident has decided that while she can’t help sandbag or clean up after the waters recede, she can still do something to help.
Corinna Toles, a Watford City resident who previously lived in Fargo planned a community drive for flood victims, which was held this past Saturday and Sunday at the Kum & Go parking lot in Watford City.
“I have a lot of friends in Fargo,” says Toles. “During the flooding, every time they called it seemed like things just kept getting worse, and even though the water has gone down, there is still a threat of more flooding to come.”
For most people living in Western North Dakota, it’s hard to imagine what life is like right now in Fargo, Bismarck or any other community that has experienced extreme flooding. “I’ve been there,” says Toles. “I just moved back to Watford City from Fargo two months ago, and I know what they are going through and what is still to come.”
Toles grew up in Watford City, but because she lived in Fargo she has firsthand experience fighting the flood waters of the Red River and is familiar with the mess it has left behind.
“During the time I lived in Fargo I was always right there helping with sandbagging and cleanup after the water receded,” adds Toles. “I have a lot of friends in the Fargo area who were evacuated and I wish I could have been there to help.”
Although Toles wasn’t able to be in Fargo to help in the fight against the flood she decided to do what she could from Watford City.
 “With friends calling and telling me how bad it was,” says Toles, “I just couldn’t sit here and do nothing.”
Toles spent her weekend in the Kum & Go parking lot working against the brisk wind to accept donations from area residents.
“We started with a U-Haul trailer that was donated by the local U-Haul company,” adds Toles. “We filled the U-Haul and fortunately, Richard from U-Haul was nice enough to donate the use of a livestock trailer and his services to help deliver the goods.”
With hopes of filling the U-Haul with non-perishable food, clothing, blankets, toiletries and cleaning supplies, Toles was overjoyed at the outpouring of people and the great donations that not only filled the U-Haul, but also the livestock trailer.
“I knew we would get a lot of people, because this is a very giving community,” says Toles. “But I was surprised to get so much stuff and see people from so far away.”
According to Toles, donations came from throughout McKenzie County as well as Williston, New Town, Sidney and Lambert, Mont.
“It was definitely worth giving up my weekend,” comments Toles. “We ended up filling both trailers, which is double what I was hoping for.”
On Monday, Toles took half of the donated merchandise to the Salvation Army in Bismarck and the other half to the Salvation Army in Fargo for distribution to flood victims.
“Thank you to all who donated items making this possible and also to Brenda and Pete for loading the donations,” adds Toles. “Especially thanks to everyone who donated gas cards for the trip and Richard Beane for the trailers and for driving the second trailer. This would not have been possible without all of the help.”