Winnipeggers are helping flooded homeowners in Minot, N.D.
About 30 men from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints travelled to Minot last weekend to help homeowners gut their homes to remove mould. The previous weekend, 22 church members made the trip.
The Mormon volunteers are doing work for free that contractors are charging $8,000 to $20,000 per house to do, said Allan Robison, leader of the Mormon Church in Manitoba. (The church doesn't have a paid minister.)
"It just tugs at your heart when you look at the mess," Robison said. More than 4,100 homes were flooded. Of those, 3,200 had at least two metres of water on their main floors.
"Anything the water touched has to be removed," Robison said. That includes walls, appliances and furniture. Then the remaining frame structure is pressure-washed. "That apparently saves the homes so people can build inside again."
Church members from states or provinces bordering North Dakota are volunteering. The Manitoba contingent was part of a group of almost 300 men from the Latter Day Saints helping out. The Mormons wear yellow T-shirts to indicate they are with the church.
"The people down there are just so grateful," Robison said.
In two weekends, the Mormons have helped gut more than 200 homes. There is much more to do. Another 600 homeowners have requested their help and are on the Mormon group's list.
Winnipeg volunteers leave Friday afternoon or evening. It's almost a seven-hour drive to Minot. They work 12-hour days, starting at about 6:30 a.m., then drive home Sunday night. The men camp in tents on the lawn of the Mormon church in Minot. They take their own food.
Mormon volunteers expect to travel to Minot for many weekends yet because there is so much to do, Robison said.
Websites for disaster relief include www.rallyminot.com and minotnd.org