By Jessica Berlinger
While the beginning of September brought sunshine and happiness, the end of September brought a lot of rain and gloom. On Sept. 23, St. Clair, Minn. flooded due to the heavy overnight rainfall.
The Le Sueur river rose and flooded the town leaving people without homes. The flooding was also said to have overtaken the water treatment facility leaving people without toilets and showers.
Communication Professor and former resident Angela Jahr found the flooding heartbreaking.
“The Facebook notification came in about 3:45 a.m. that help was needed, and it was devastating. This is the place I call home, having raised my three children there, and living in the heart of town on Main Street,” she said of the town.
St. Clair has been hit with flooding three times since 2010, but this has been the worst. “This is the third time in six years, 2010, 2014, and now 2016 that we have been challenged by the river. Early on it was clear that this was going to be a bigger fight,” said Jahr. “For me it was especially sad, because an electrical fire over the summer had already destroyed my home, and further damage would make rebuilding unlikely. I continue to pray and God continues to provide strength and guidance, always,” she said.
Luckily, St. Clair had a lot of support within itself and from other communities. “We are a close community. I am always proud of how the town pulls together during challenging times,” said Jahr.
Sandbagging is a foreign term to some, but it is just putting up walls using sandbags to help keep the water out, which is what the baseball team did. They received a text from their coach about the flooding, and having a member on the team from St. Clair, they decided to go and help the community.
They went and helped with sandbagging from about 9:30 a.m., until about 12:30, and then they received another text around 11:30 p.m. and they stayed in St. Clair from midnight until 4:30 the next morning.
“This was my first time ever doing it and I had no idea what to expect,” said senior Joseph Falkner. “It was actually pretty difficult; I was absolutely exhausted.”
“It was sad because we knew just from what we were hearing that everything we had just done was going to go under within a matter of time,” said junior Kevin Harris. “It was sad knowing that these people were going to lose their homes and everything would be gone.”
Being from Texas where it doesn’t rain anywhere near as much as it does in Minnesota, Harris said, “I’ve never experienced anything like this.”
The flooding affected many families and many people in different ways. Although the flooding was horrible, Jahr was able to be thankful for the hard workers God has put in her life.
“I saw the hard working faces from my St. Clair community, but I also saw the faces from my BLC community,” she said. “The baseball team came out to help, and Kurt Paulsen brought his class to help. I couldn’t be more honored to live and work surrounded by such caring folks.”