FREMONT – Fremont and the surrounding areas are currently experiencing a historic event – one that we’ll be talking about for years, one that we’ll tell our kids about. Those stories will be about much more than just the flooding, more than just the waves of water that drove thousands of people out of their homes. The stories will be, I’m certain, less about the water and more about what the water drove us to do.
It drove us to volunteer. It drove us to open up our homes, our pantries, our linen closets. It drove us to open up our churches to displaced people of any faith to make sure they were safe through the night. It drove us out of our own warm, dry homes in the middle of that night to lay down sandbags to protect a neighborhood we might never have walked into before, when Military Avenue at Ridge Road began to take on water Friday night.
The water drove nearly one thousand people to head to Gerhold Concrete bright and early on Saturday, armed with pickup trucks and shovels, to load thousands of bags of sand to protect the neighborhoods threatened by floodwaters again as a flash flood warning rang out this morning. The sandbagging operation ended around 2:30PM on Saturday, and although they hope the water won’t rise again and force them to return, every volunteer I spoke to said they would be back the minute they were needed.
The water has also driven countless police, state troopers, Sheriff’s deputies, fire and EMS crew members into the most dangerous areas of the county as they rescue stranded people and pets.
And the water has driven thousands of people throughout the Fremont area and the state of Nebraska to give funds and supplies to shelters, Salvation Army efforts, and the Red Cross. There are now five Red Cross emergency shelters in Fremont, most operating at or near capacity and all in need of donations.
- First Lutheran Church – 3200 Military Ave – AT CAPACITY
- Trinity Lutheran Church – 1546 N Luther Rd – AT CAPACITY
- Salem Lutheran Church – 401 E Military Ave – AT CAPACITY
- Fremont Nazarene Church – 960 Johnson Rd – AT CAPACITY
- Fremont Middle School – 540 Johnson Rd – OPEN
All five locations are in dire need of supplies, especially: Air Mattresses (even pool air mattresses or floats), cots, rollaway beds, blankets, sleeping bags, NEW pillows, towels, toiletries, toilet paper, feminine hygiene products, sweatpants, t-shirts, NEW underwear and socks, baby supplies, wipes, diapers, bottle warmers, formula, bottles, bottled water, non-perishable foods.
Pillows, underwear and socks should be new in the package, but blankets, sleeping bags, towels, air mattresses, cots, sleeping bags can be previously used as long as they are clean, garbage bags, laundry soap and general cleaning supplies, mops, brooms and shovels. Organizers are now requesting that all supplies be taken to Clarmar Elementary at 1865 E 19th Street between the hours of 9AM and 7PM instead of to the individual shelters.
If you don’t have supplies to donate, monetary donations are needed more than ever. Text the message FREMONTUW to 41444 or visit www.fremontunitedway.org and click GIVE.
If you want to donate your time, there is now a central volunteer registration center at Clarmar Elementary (1865 East 19th) – if you want to volunteer, or if you’re an agency that needs volunteers, go to Clarmar Elementary. The central registration center is open until 7PM Saturday night and will be open 9AM to 7PM on Sunday. If you wish to volunteer at a shelter, go directly to the shelter.
This is a historic event, but not only because of the flood waters that have poured into our communities – it is historic because of the outpouring of support that the volunteers, neighbors and friends around us are displaying today.