WOLF LAKE, IL (KFVS) - Shawnee High School in Wolf Lake, Illinois held a very special ceremony on Saturday, March 5 for those who helped fight the record-setting New Year Flood.
It was a flood fighters feast set up to honor those who filled sandbags, checked on levees, help move people to safety, donate time, money and more.
"Saving our schools, saving our school district, but also they saved their own farms and homes from this devastating flood," Jamie Nash-Mayberry said. "We're really lucky our levees held but the only reason they held was because of people here today that helped fight the flood."
As floodwaters rose to devastating levels during the New Year Flood, people along the Mississippi River in Jackson County, Union County, Alexander County and more put other needs before their own. People of these Illinois counties say it's their efforts that helped us keep afloat in a time of need.
"Community members and volunteers and people that we didn't even know saved our communities, which in turn saved our school and saved our jobs," Shelly Clover-Hill, Shawnee School District Superintendent, said.
Shawnee School District staff members are grateful for the flood fighting efforts that helped keep their schools dry and children safe.
"Our students were out there sandbagging, taking levee watches, filling sand boils, delivering food, cooking food. So we can't teach that in a classroom but that's a life lesson right there," Clover-Hill said. "They saved their own families, their houses, their community and their school."
"Everyone's going to come together when the time is needed. They're going to help each other evacuate. They're going to help each other sand bag," Nash-Mayberry said. "And it was very moving to see teachers, community members, students, staff all come together and fight this flood."