FACES OF THE FLOOD-Helping hands put a smile on Wrenshall woman's face
By: Jana Peterson, Pine Journal
Sandra Farleigh stood on the porch of her rural Wrenshall home and smiled at the activity going on outside. A group of seven or eight volunteers – all of them strong, able-bodied men – were making short work of her collapsed basement wall and the mud and muck within. Cement blocks were stacked in a neat pile on her lawn and the mud pile was growing higher by the minute, hauled up by buckets and shoveled out of the cave-like entrance to her basement where the wall and ground caved in from all the water during the June flash floods.
“I am so tickled that they’re doing this for me,” Farleigh said. “I couldn’t do it. I’m 70 years old. Thirty years ago I would have picked those bricks up and just thrown them out.”
Farleigh was standing in her kitchen doing dishes when the wall collapsed, taking her septic pipe with it.
“There was just a faint ‘shew’ sound,” she said. “Like something fell, but nothing big. Just a ‘swish.’ Who would have thought it was under my feet?”
When the Christian Disaster Response volunteers arrived to work on her basement July 7, it had been more than two weeks since the flood.
That was two weeks without sewer, because the pipe connecting her home to the septic mound outside was buried in the floor beneath the wall.
“My well was fine, but you couldn’t run the water because all it does is just go straight to the basement,” she said. “That’s not good.”
She mostly stayed inside while the men – all Mennonites from three different congregations in the Barron, Wis., area ¬– were working.
“Being volunteers, they’re good people,” she said. “Usually I’m the kind of person that does things. But at my age, you’re proud to have people like this help you. I went to the Armory and told the people there what happened and now I’ve got this happening. Everyone has been so good.”