Even as they were driving to their job site on May 30, the cooperative employees knew they would be working for a community that really needed it.
“Wow, the houses on 4th Avenue, you could still see the water lines, the trash, the debris.” Josh Chilcote, Roughrider Electric Cooperative electrician, is describing Minot, ND. In the summer of 2011, the Mouse River flooded so badly that 4,100 homes in the city were damaged. Watch video for more from Chilcote.
Oak Park was also damaged, with about 10 feet of water sitting in the park during the worst of it. Ron Bieri, Minot Park District board president, said the board wanted to get Oak Park fixed up before June 22, which was the anniversary of the major 2011 flood. He said they want a place for families to be able to go, to get away from the work they’re still doing, cleaning up after the flood.
Verendrye Electric Cooperative, headquartered in Velva, ND, stepped up to do the electrical wiring right away. When Bruce Carlson, Verendrye general manager, saw how big the job would be, he called his cooperative friends. “Thanks to my manager colleagues for sending their best people here,” Carlson said. Watch more of Carlson describing the flood.
More than 60 cooperative employees showed up to the job site May 30 to rewire the park, including 14 Basin Electric employees. Bill Sauter, Leland Olds Station instrument I, said he was happy to volunteer. “Usually I sit behind a desk on a computer, so this is a good change.” Watch the video.
Bill Knudson, Leland Olds Station electrician I, and Sauter spent the day removing the old and installing new electrical pedestals. “It’s so stressful for these people that have been flooded out. It’s nice that all the co-ops are helping out here.”
Dale Howard, Antelope Valley Station electrician I, used to live south of Minot, and had spent time in Oak Park before the flood. “It’s always been a people park. I just want to see it get back to normal. … Co-ops have a lot of people working for them that really care.”
Bieri said the electrical wiring was finished in one day, a job on which he can’t put a price tag. “It just amazes me that we have as many people from as many other communities that have come here just to help. It’s fantastic.”