When the going gets tough, the tough get going — and that was certainly the case this week in the city of Sedgwick.
No strangers to flooding, some Sedgwick residents nonetheless found themselves in a precarious position this week as the heavy rains and rising water levels of the Little Arkansas River (and surrounding creeks) closed off several streets in town, forced school to be called off for two days and threatened to damage a handful of homes.
As soon as flooding issues began, the call was put out to the community from the city offices requesting help to fill sandbags. Those sandbags were to be utilized near homes around town (mostly along Madison Avenue) facing the greatest threat of taking water damage. While filling was where help was needed the most, there was some outreach involved in the process as well.
"They did deliver them to our seniors here in town who needed the extra help," said Sedgwick City Clerk Janise Enterkin.
Volunteers filled around 3,500 sandbags the day (Tuesday) the call was put out for assistance, as city staff had a veritable small army helping out with the Sedgwick High School football team pitching in as well as volunteers from surrounding communities (i.e. Andale, Valley Center, Halstead, etc.).
Halstead also had a call out for help with sandbags — filling 500 of its own — but the water levels were not as threatening as in its neighboring Harvey County community. Seeing the support from all around, though, is not an act that went unnoticed in Sedgwick.
"You never know how good your community is until you have a disaster where people need the extra help, and then you just get people coming out to help from everywhere," Enterkin said. "If they couldn't help with sandbags, they were doing other things to help the people who were working. It's just amazing how this community comes together when things are needed."
Some of those other activities included delivering pizza around town and taking on other tasks to help out those in need who were impacted by the flooding.
For the Sedgwick High School football team, the rally to get involved really came from the players as a way to give back to the community that shows up to support it when the Cardinals take the field week in and week out.
"They organized themselves and did that. It was not from the football coaches; we didn't send that memo out. They went on their own and kind of organized that," said head football coach Jeff Werner. "It really kind of shows you the type of kids we have. I was very proud of them for doing that on their day off and them wanting to help out the community and chip in. We represent the community on Friday nights. It's kind of cool to help out the community when we can as citizens as well."