On Wednesday morning as I got the kids ready for daycare, I had heard on the news of the rising Wapsipinicon, which runs right through House District 95, and the need of sandbaggers in Central City. I decided to just drop off the two younger girls and take my son Jack, 6, with me to Central City. He had a dentist appointment in Cedar Rapids later in the day and we had planned on hanging out together and screwing around down in Cedar Rapids, a little son and dad time together. I am so glad that we decided to skip the dentist and the trip to CR. There were many questions on the way to Central City. “What are sandbags, what will the flooding do, do you know these people, why are we going?” etc… I explained to him what we were doing. I told him that when people are in trouble you help them out. I reminded him of when our basement flooded and a handful of guys came over to get everything out of the basement. I could see the wheels turning in his head.
As we rolled into town we saw the rising Wapsi, his eyes got big. We headed to the city maintenance shop on 8th and East Maple. There we found over a dozen folks in the process of filling sandbags. The Central City baseball coach and team were there. Kids and adults from Alburnett were in the mix. Central City citizens were helping and I spoke to a man from Cedar Rapids who drove up.
We filled sandbags and loaded them up into my truck. People in the community would drive up and ask if we had any bags, “how many you need”, was always the response from those in charge. We ran sandbags all over town. Kids would jump in the back of my truck and we would be off. Jack was right there with them and I could see that he was taking it all in.
We stayed in Central City for a few hours, sandbagging homes and Doctor Kubovec’s chiropractic office. Then Jack and I were off to Troy Mills. We arrived at the Troy Mills fire station where we found 30 people or better filling sandbags. A lot of my former and current students from North Linn were helping out. Parents and community members from all ages, 6 to probably 70s or 80s were in the mix. The Troy Store had donated water, pop and Gatorade. The Damn Bar donated food and people cycled in to relieve those filling for a short break and then they were back at it. Nobody called these folks, they just showed up. They knew their community needed their help and they responded. Again, as I filled sandbags I kept an eye on Jack. I could not have taught a better lesson in life, people helping people in need, communities coming together, young and old working together for their town.
As I write this there is news that the levels in Independence were lower than expected. It will take some time for the river to crest in Troy Mills and then in Central City. Only time will tell what the river will bring. I don’t know if our efforts will save some homes and businesses from damage. But those communities did not roll over to Mother Nature. They worked and sweat and did what they could, joining together to help their communities.
I am so honored to serve the people of House District 95. I am proud of our district. These small towns and the people who live there are excellent examples for towns and cities across the state and nation to emulate. And the folks of these communities and the people who came in to help taught one 6 year old boy some important lessons. On the way home, tired and hot, Jack said he was glad that we helped all of those people. To which I replied, in the words of North Linn super fan Mike Hageman, “That’s what we do!”
State Representative Quentin Stanerson
House District 95