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‘It hasn’t really quite sunk in’: Crookston community impacted by rising water levels

Published: Apr. 24, 2022 at 9:50 PM CDT
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FARGO, N.D. (Valley News Live) - Volunteers rushed to Crookston on Sunday to help fight the flood waters coming in from the Red Lake River. From sandbagging to setting up a makeshift shelter at the Crookston Sports Center, there were efforts across the town as the community is being impacted by the rising water.

One of those devastated by the flood waters was Gary Brule. Brule’s childhood home of 65 years, which sits near the Red Lake River, has been over taken by the water. Now, he doesn’t know where he will go.

“That’s my house,” said Brule. “I really don’t know. It hasn’t really quite sunk in. I mean, it’s, I don’t really know what’s going to happen.”

The barrier of sand bags that were set up on Riverside Ave. broke down and the water began pouring into the neighborhood. Karen Swatlowski, who lives across the street from Brule, said that the rising water reminds of her of another time she experienced a flood. That was back in 1997, when she lived in Grand Forks.

“It’s very scary, especially with myself. I lived in Grand Forks during the ‘97 flood, and it kind of brings back memories of all that pain of losing a lot of things over there as well.” said Swatlowski.

All across Crookston, people from different parts of Minnesota and North Dakota came together to help fight the floods. Out on the river banks, people laid done sand bags. Others helped fill them in town. Even members of the Hendrum Fire Dept. traveled over 40 miles just to lend a hand.

“I mean, if it happened in my hometown, I would want people to come out and sand bag for our town too.” said Wyatt Rudnik of the Hendrum Fire Dept.

Volunteers between Grand Forks and Moorhead also joined in on the efforts. A gesture that Crookston community members say not won’t go unappreciated.

“We all have different lifestyles, we all have different political views, we all have different industries, but at the same time we’re one community.” said Anisa Escobedo, a Crookston resident.

The Crookston Sports Center has been set up as a makeshift shelter for those that have been impacted by the flood waters.

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