Volunteers combat rising river with sandbags in East Cape Girardeau, Ill.

Published: May. 23, 2019 at 5:14 PM CDT
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EAST CAPE GIRARDEAU, Ill. (KFVS) - The Mississippi river is on the rise and a small town in Illinois is getting a big boost in its flood fight from more than 100 miles away.

About 4,000 pre-filled sandbags were delivered to East Cape Girardeau from East St. Louis, Ill. on Thursday, May 23.

For two days dozens of volunteers including a group of high school students have brought the manpower the small community needs to prepare for the worst.

“Heard that ‘Hey we need people sandbagging down in East Cape’ and I was like 'Alright I’ll be down there,’” said Junior Koby McLane.

Young volunteers from the Shawnee High School are spending the first few days of summer break on flood duty.

Students like Sophomore Mariah Faire say it feels good to give back.

“I have friends who live down here and I know that they would help us if we needed it," Faire said. ”It makes me feel like a better person pretty much. Just knowing that people can depend on me."

Mayor Joe Aden appreciates the extra support because his staff is limited.

“Small communities seem to rise to the occasion," Aden said. "It is amazing and we don’t give enough credit to our young people.”

Aden says they are placing thousands of sandbags around homes, businesses, a waste water treatment facility and the village community building.

“It’s the heartbeat of East Cape. We have it used for a lot of things," Aden said. "So far we are holding our own. We are not losing ground.”

Aden says they're fighting a combination of heavy rain and seep water from the Mississippi.

Even though the river continues to rise, the mayor is optimistic their emergency plan will work.

“There is enough gloom and doom in this world today and we sure don’t need it here," Aden said. "Everything is positive right now and I hope it stays that way.”

Mayor Aden says the village needs more volunteers on Friday May 24 because the students from Shawnee High School have a field trip.

Donations of bottled water, Gatorade and food are also being accepted for the sandbaggers and can be dropped off at the school in Wolf Lake or at the East Cape Girardeau Village Hall.

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