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Locals head for Fargo

By Matt Russell

mrussell@postbulletin.com

The Red Cross Southeast Minnesota chapter sent its first volunteers Monday to the Fargo, N.D. area as residents prepare for flooding on the Red River.

More are planning to follow in the coming days.

Dale Deters, 62, of Rochester and Laura Rice, 53, of Kellogg will deliver hot meals to volunteers who are sandbagging areas expected to be hit by record flooding.

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The pair will deliver up to 300 meals twice a day.

"It’s going to be nasty" in the Fargo area, Deters said.

"They’re saying it’s going to be worse than ’97 (the last time record flooding hit the area.)"

Deters and Rice expect to stay up to three weeks.

More volunteers from southeastern Minnesota likely will follow after the water crests in Fargo days from now, said Melanie Tschida, executive director of the local Red Cross chapter.

Those volunteers would help with housing and feeding people affected by the flooding, she said.

For now, Deters and Rice will help keep energy and morale up.

"It sounds like they are exhausted already from sandbagging," Tschida said. "It makes a big difference when you can show up with a hot meal."

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Deters and Rose are veterans of Red Cross delivery efforts. Deters helped in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, and Rice was in Galveston, Texas, last year after Hurricane Ike.

They traded war stories Monday morning before they started their five- to six-hour drive to Fargo.

Both expected that cold temperatures in Fargo would add to the toll on sandbaggers. They expect a meal-delivery route, so they would get to know who they’re helping. They’ll bring not just food, Rice said, but words of encouragement.

"That’s the biggest need, to take care of them so they can keep working," she said.

Page B3: Fargo officials considering options to stave off floodwaters

For more information,

go to Postbulletin.com/weblinks.

http://www.redcross-semn.org/

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