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FargoDome Sandbaggers Prep For Red River Throwdown

March 29th, 2009 · Tags:Cities · Politics · Wi-Fi

Despite what the song says, I can’t drive “my Chevy to the levee” and I can assure you it ain’t dry anyhow. Here in Fargo, N.D., all eyes are on the Red River — a much different animal than the branch that separates Texas and Oklahoma. Here the waterway is a beast, at least this week as the residents brace for impact of flooding.

Yesterday — Saturday — the river crested at a record level, and then the water began to subside slightly. But there is a winter blizzard on the way, and it sounds like additional ice may help/may hurt depending on whom you talk to.

On most roads near the river, you see camouflage Humvees and National Guardsmen turning people away from the river. So, personally, I haven’t seen it.

So, I drove over to sandbag central instead — The FargoDome — home of the mighty Bison of North Dakota State.

I mean … the streets of Fargo are empty, as are most of the parking lots — except for the churches and the FargoDome — two great signs of what this community is about. Worship and volunteering. God and Country!

So, I stepped inside the dome and straight away noticed a poster from a past Dixie Chicks concert — which to me is a stark contrast to the two concepts I just mentioned … but then I have a tendency to digress … don’t I?

There is a cool video of the facility transforming from a Microsoft trade show to a rock concert to a football arena at:

Inside the FD, on one half of the facility are rows and rows of sandbags. The other end of the building is full of teamwork. Hundreds, probably a few thousand volunteers shoveling, forklifting, dump trucking and bagging sand. In fact, there is a brownish golden haze floating over the noise — more sand flying than the beach volleyball finals — yet in the background there is a football goal post still upright from an indoor game.

There is lots of laughing and smileys on the surface — but I assure you these folks are all business. Each sandbag could mean the difference in saving their homes and everything for which they have worked.

There is no playbook for a disaster. Every one is different. Some hit quicker with no warning. But regardless, compared to other disaster city scenes … hats off to the people of Fargo and the way they have responded — civilized, organized, out in force.

Go Bison!