Time for Austin to return the favor

We often hear about disasters in various parts of the country. It can be a hurricane in New Orleans, fires in California, tornadoes in Iowa — or floods here in Minnesota, like those we’ve had in the past here in Austin or most recently in communities in southeastern Minnesota such as Stockton, Winona, Rushford and others.

Government representatives usually show up and tell the victims that help is on the way. In some cases it takes a long time to provide that help. New Orleans, for example, is still waiting for more federal help in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina two years ago.

Most recently, FEMA opened three recovery centers in Rushford to help with cleanup and rebuilding in that community.

It’s been more than a week since the flooding occurred, and people in Rushford have been digging out every day since that time. So where does help come from immediately after a disaster like this?

It comes from the people who live in southeastern Minnesota. No matter what the disaster, neighbors and neighboring communities come to the aid of the victims.


Many have helped so far, and many more are needed. The United Way of Mower County is asking residents to help their neighbors to the east with flood recovery in Fillmore County.

Mandi Lighthizer-Schmidt, executive director of the United Way of Mower County, says about 1,300 volunteers are needed in the next several weeks to assist with a variety of tasks such as cleaning basements and removing insulation and plasterboard from walls.

Volunteers are needed from 7:30 a.m. until dark. Now is the time to help the people of Rushford and Fillmore County clean up and put the pieces back together. You can register online for a specific time to help through Mower County’s United Way Web site at

Our community was hit with the same type disaster a few years ago, and we know how much a helping hand provides. Now is the time for us to provide that same helping hand to others.


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