29 March 2009

An evening at the Fargo Dome

A slight haze hung over the field, but this was not pyrotechnic. No, this was fine sand particles hanging in the air inside the Fargo Dome. Since 8 AM on Sunday, Fargoans and others have rejoined their efforts to increase the city sandbag supply. People from all walks of life and numerous nations gave of their time and energy to complete the task. I joined them Sunday evening.
Not wanting to expend gasoline, I biked up the street to the dome. Arriving at 5PM I found the floor of the dome to be crowded and chaotic. How on earth was I going to lend a helping hand when it seemed there were some many hands helping already. I watched and waited for a few minutes in the stands. There were other who were doing the same (or so I thought.) Finally I wafted my way to the floor and looked for a place to help. Nothing. Finally I went to the west side and began to pile empty sandbags with 2 junior high girls (or so I thought they were.) At last I spied a job. Piling the bags on the pallet. Who knew that working at Forum Communications and Roman Meal would prepare me for this task?
I was on a roll for a while but then people started taking breaks and then the shoveler, the bag holder, and the tier all left and I had a half stacked pallet. Nobody took their places. I stood around for a while until I noticed other bags that I could stack on the pallet. Eventually that even dried up at 9 o clock rolled around.
I folded bags for a while and then ended the evening with some shoveling. At that point I went up to the canteen that the Red Cross and Salvation Army had set up. They had some the best pizza in town from Extreme Pizza Kitchen (sorry Duane's just doesn't cut.) After a few pieces and photos, I bike home round about 10:45PM.
You won't see the pictures yet because I left the special cable to the camera at work. I had forgotten to pack the SD card so I used internal memory.

A few rants about my time tonight.
First it was a real good experience. Don't get me wrong here. I enjoyed having this opportunity to volunteer. I am especially grateful for Red Cross, Salvation Army, and the Extreme Pizza Kitchen who ensure the night of volunteering ended on a delicious note.

Okay, now the rants.
  1. I don't understand why people were still stacking pallets high and in pyramids because it seemed that it was advised against on the PA every half hour.
  2. Junior high girls. There were a few that were helpful but it appeared that many were there just there to text message or flirt with boys.
  3. Chaotic entropy. That's how I described the manner in which the sand bagging was being completed. Certainly there could have been a means to use that many people more efficiently. However I guess it got the job done.
Co-ordination during this crisis has not been the best. If you have read any my other articles you may understand. We just volunteer too much. Not a bad thing but when unexpected I suppose its a headache to manage properly.
Hendrum was dangerously close to being whelmed over by the river. The small town in Minnesota just about 25 miles north of Moorhead hardly had a skeleton crew to re-enforce their dike. Finally a call went out on the local radio station for volunteers. I'm unsure of the outcome but I am bit distressed that there could have been a co-ordinated effort to get many volunteers up there especially since many were without work in the dome. Nonetheless, WDAY deserves the kudos for sounding the alarm and summong volunteers from the region.

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