Apr 6th, 2009 @ 2:17 pm | Author: Dr. Steve Shirley, VCSU President
As a community, we can all be extremely proud of our collective citizenry and the flood-related preparations during the past several weeks.
As president of Valley City State, I am especially proud of the students, faculty, and staff at VCSU and the efforts put forth assisting prepare our city for the flood conditions. Thousands of hours have been contributed by members of our university community in volunteering with the sandbagging efforts. VCSU has been in close contact with city officials throughout this flood fight, and we have been (and will continue to be) responsive to their requests for assistance and cooperation.
Beyond the thousands of sandbagging and levee-building hours that our university members have provided in Valley City, there are other contributions VCSU has made. The Osmon Fieldhouse was initially opened as an emergency shelter for potential evacuees from the Fargo-Moorhead area. We ultimately did not end up housing any evacuees, but we were in close contact with the Emergency Operations Center in Bismarck and remain fully prepared. A number of VCSU students traveled to Fargo over the past couple weeks for sandbagging, and VCSU donated the PeopleMover bus for transportation. Students and staff moved a couple dozen beds from the VCSU campus to Legacy Place providing additional bedding for elderly evacuees from Fargo. Our students also assisted unload a truck of hospital beds at the Sheyenne Care Center for elderly evacuees. VCSU provided temporary housing in Robertson Hall for caregivers and staff tending to the evacuees.
The contributions made by VCSU faculty, staff, and students have been many. However, in particular I want to publicly thank and recognize our student-athletes and their coaches. Our athletic teams have provided much of the proverbial 'muscle' required in not only filling sandbags, but also for physically building the sandbag levees. These students put in long hours throughout the year not just in the classroom, but also in the gym and on the field. We are grateful for the additional hours they have contributed in this community effort, and the outstanding leadership shown by their coaches.
The flood fighting effort and preparations made thus far have included involvement from a broad spectrum of entities. City officials, City Commissioners, the Mayor and Administrator, the Fire Department, the Police Department, the Army Corps of Engineers, Valley City High School and their students for their tireless sandbagging efforts, Valley City Public Works, the Salvation Army, the contractors building clay dikes, engineers designing the levees, the National Guard, Barnes County commissioners and officials, local church groups, state and federally-elected officials, VCSU, and many other groups along with every citizen who has volunteered. I am sure there are many others as well. The point is this – it clearly takes a huge contribution by a large number of groups working cooperatively to successfully face a major challenge such as an historic flood.
There is certainly much more work and significant challenges ahead of us in the coming days and weeks, but we will all continue working closely together and successfully face this challenge. It truly should make all of us proud of the community in which we live. It is not the material things or buildings that make a great community, but rather it is the people. I am proud of VCSU's contribution in this flood-fighting effort, proud of the great people of the Valley City community, proud of the citywide response by everyone involved, and proud to call Valley City home!