The Ritz Herald
U.S. Air National Guard Tech. Sgt. Aaron Jacobson, a 185th Air Refueling Wing Civil Engineering Squadron pavements and construction equipment specialist, picks up debris using a skid steer loader in Sioux Rapids, Iowa, June 29, 2024. © Senior Airman Tylon Chapman

Guardsmen Help Small Town Recover From Flooding

Iowa Air National Guardsmen recently converged on the small town of Sioux Rapids, cleaning up debris to alleviate the effects of historic flooding

Published on July 08, 2024

Iowa Air National Guard members converged on the small town of Sioux Rapids, cleaning up debris to alleviate the effects of historic flooding.

Eric Boge, a high school teacher, said he was thankful that the Guard came to help.

“That actually brought tears to my eyes,” said Boge, “It’s been helpful and a fast process with all you guys and many hands.”

The Iowa Air Guard members from Sioux City’s 185th Air Refueling Wing and Des Moines’ 132nd Wing sent 30 Airmen to Sioux Rapids.

Iowa ANG Airmen worked in Woodbury, Cherokee, Ida and Buena Vista counties in Western Iowa.

National Guard Airmen worked with local civil authorities to ensure the safety of the public by cordoning off streets as the Airmen operated their vehicles and equipment.

Early on June 22, rainstorms caused widespread flooding in multiple communities throughout Northwest Iowa.

The Little Sioux River overflowed in Sioux Rapids, damaging many residences and businesses.

After the rain stopped, residents gathered debris and flood-damaged property at their curbs. Airmen loaded it aboard dump trucks.

“It’s extremely sad seeing all these peoples’ homes and valuables just destroyed,” said Staff Sgt. Seth Stamm, a 185th Air Refueling Wing power production specialist. “But helping clean up is all we can do.”

Most of the Airmen taking part in the mission come from civil engineering squadrons. Their equipment includes chain saws, skid steer loaders, dump trucks and other vehicles.

The volunteer Guard team is expected to assist with recovery efforts.

Maj. Daniel Ress, the 185th Air Refueling Wing’s deputy base civil engineer, said the unit had no issue getting volunteers for the cleanup.

“They put their plans for the weekend aside. Maybe even their plans for the holiday aside to come out and help and be here for this community,” he said.

Senior Airman Tylon Chapman, 185th Air Refueling Wing, Iowa Air National Guard
Associate Writer