Man launches relief effort to collect items for flood victimsAfter witnessing the “heart-wrenching” devastation of Minot from record flooding, Patrick Dame said he knew he had to do something to help out friends and residents in the community he used to call home.
After witnessing the “heart-wrenching” devastation of Minot from record flooding, Patrick Dame said he knew he had to do something to help out friends and residents in the community he used to call home.
Dame remains closely connected to the town of 41,000, where he headed the airport for several years before being hired as executive director of the Grand Forks International Airport in 2009.
And with last week’s news of homes and businesses being inundated with water from the swollen Souris River, he began to look for a way of lending a hand from his new home to the residents of his former community.
“We were just thinking, ‘Is there anything that we can do,’ and began trying to work to organize something to be able to help out,” he said.
Dame teamed up with several partners at the airport and regional businesses to launch “Help us Raise Minot,” a relief effort that’s now collecting donated food and bottled water, toiletries and baby products, toys and laundry detergent and other personal care items to give a boost to residents who have lost their homes to the raging river.
A boost from GF
Dame’s wife, Jennifer, a former weekend anchor at a Minot TV station, said her family was closely tracking developments as the river continued to rise to an apparent Sunday crest that was 3.7 feet higher than the previous record set in 1881.
The Souris didn’t touch their former Minot home — which is located on higher ground than the areas where about 11,000 were evacuated last week — but she said they know more than 100 people who have already lost their houses.
“I said, ‘I can’t sit still anymore; we have got to do something for our friends,’” she said.
They decided Friday afternoon to ask Grand Forks area residents to donate what they could to help those displaced by the record flood. Within an hour of coming up with the idea, he said, several businesses in the city had already committed to join the cause.
The family traveled to Minot on Saturday to meet with residents and American Red Cross officials to figure out what was most needed. But Dame said it was hard to get a close-up view of the devastation of his former community.
“We care for the folks over there and they’re very good people,” he said. “Seeing that on Saturday was just overwhelming.”
Dame said the relief effort isn’t asking for money, but instead is focusing on collecting personal care items and everyday supplies to help “raise the spirits” of the town.
Jennifer Dame said it makes sense to ask local businesses and residents to chip in to help with a severe flooding situation that, in many ways, mirrors what the town they now call home experienced more than a decade ago.
“We felt that Grand Forks would be a good fit for something like this having gone through this in 1997,” she said. “We always felt Grand Forks would be really receptive to this, and the people have shown they are.”
They announced the relief effort Friday night, and she said it didn’t take long before the region’s residents and businesses showed their willingness to lend a hand.
“As soon as we said, “Hey, we’d like to help,’ people couldn’t help that enough,” she said. “We had people dropping off donations first thing Saturday morning already.”
“Help us Raise Minot” is collecting donated nonperishable food items, bottled water and personal items through July 9 at a number of drop-off locations in the region, including:
- Grand Forks International Airport Terminal at the airline or automobile rental counters.
- GFK Flight Support, 2403 Air Cargo Drive.
- Rydell Auto Center, 2700 S. Washington St.
- ABRA Auto Body and Glass, 2151 32nd Ave. S.
- Crookston Motors, 807 Marin Ave., Crookston.