Harwood, N.D. --
As bigger cities safely lessen their focus on floodwaters, the threat -- and the North Dakota National Guard's presence -- in outlying areas remains. Harwood, N.D., just north of Fargo, is one of those areas. Overland flooding continues, and the town's 600 or so residents, along with North Dakota Soldiers and Airmen, remain vigilant.
During the day, Guard members stand ready in a quick response force situated at the Harwood Community Center. The team of 19 Guardsmen, who split their force into two for rotating 24-hour shifts, have dump trucks filled with sandbags, as well as a skid-steer loader and high-wheeled vehicles. They're ready to move out quickly when a call for help comes in.
At night, the quick response team shifts to dike patrols, looking for signs of leaks or seepage in the clay line of protection. It gives residents, who are responsible for monitoring the dike situation during the day, a chance for some peaceful rest.
"We do regular checks throughout the night at a few different locations to see if the dikes are eroding in the dark," said Senior Airman Anthony Rezac, of the 119th Civil Engineer Squadron, North Dakota Air National Guard.
The same situation has been playing out near Kindred with the Guard's quick reaction force that's stationed there.
"It was colder last night than it has been -- the windchill dropped it below 0 -- but the Guardsmen we talked to who were patrolling the dikes near Harwood were still upbeat. They were glad to be able to help out and give the homeowners a break from the stress they've been under lately," said Senior Master Sgt. David H. Lipp, multimedia manager for the 119th Wing, North Dakota Air National Guard. Lipp was on site to document the Guardsmen's efforts last night through photographs.
As the flood threat lessens, the quick response force teams have been called out less, with no calls having come in for a couple of days. The Guard expects the teams, as well as the dike patrol efforts, will be able to safely end their mission soon.
Video to accompany this release can be viewed at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6dFDcjtpCX8
For high-resolution video, contact the Public Affairs Office or download it at this FTP site: ftp://ftp.state.nd.us
: PIO2493 (case-sensitive)