GRAND FORKS — Football players from East Grand Forks Senior High School put their weight behind wet rugs and leaky basements on Tuesday, Sept. 24.
"Earlier, we just helped a lady move a small rug, and she was so grateful for us. It was cool to see that," said Nathan Willett, a wide receiver in his senior year.
It is a project the team chose to tackle as a way to say thank you for their new facilities, which were approved by a public vote a few years back.
"We feel like it's kind of our job to go and help them after they helped us," said Willett, who encouraged others in the community to volunteer as well. "Even if it's just moving something for your neighbor or even cutting their whole carpet in their downstairs basement like we are, anything helps."
"A lot of people are happy to see us there. So it always feels good," said senior Evan Pederson, a middle linebacker.
Volunteers have cleared about a dozen homes, but there are still about 50 left.
The Salvation Army and Community Organizations Active in Disaster still are calling for volunteers in an effort to remove wet rugs and sheetrock before they mold.
"It devastates me — volunteers are vacuuming up water from basements all over Grand Forks," said DeLaine McGurran, a homeowner. "I personally am a little challenged so I can't do a lot down there. I've had two hip replacements, and I've almost fallen because it's a slippery tile."
"The quicker it can get out, the quicker things can get dry — the more likely that you aren't going to deal with mold and all of the other bad health effects of it," said Mark Ellingson, chair of COAD.
Anyone who needs help or wants to volunteer can call Community Organizations Active in Disasters at (701) 780-8213.