Air Force Helps Out With Pierre Flood Clean Up
September 30, 2011 7:05 PM
Around 150 cadets from the Air Force Academy made a 10-hour trip to Pierre to help with flood clean up efforts.
They are spending today and tomorrow cleaning up sandbags around private homes.
The cadets are taking part in the clean up as part of their 40,000 hours of community service.
However, because of the size of the project and the effort that went into it, they say it's much more than just required service hours.
The clean up from flooding in Pierre requires a massive effort and cadets from the Air Force are taking up the challenge.
"This is like a privilege for us to come up here and just help out this community,” said Air Force Flight Commander Ashley Marie Sikora.
Sikora says when they received quite the greeting when they arrived Friday morning.
"Right when we got off the buses, there was a lot of people welcoming us with welcome signs, which we felt really appreciative,” said Sikora.
Cadets are spending two days clearing out sandbags from houses and facilities, dumping out the sand and cleaning up any trash and debris.
Sikora says they got the idea to come to South Dakota after hearing how disastrous flooding has been.
"Just helping out is really awesome, really rewarding to be out here,” said Air Force Cadet Amanda Bolton.
The clean up effort even caught the attention of World War II Veteran and Pierre resident Jack Robinson.
Robinson's 305th Bomb Group is honored with a monument at the Air Force Academy.
"It was one of the greatest experiences of my life to be able to see these people face to face,” said Robinson.
And even though the clean up falls on the same weekend as an important sporting event for the Air Force, a rivalry game against a little school called Navy, cadets say the work is definitely a higher priority.
"How often do you get this opportunity to go help a community in such need that it's almost more rewarding to be here than watch the Navy game,” said Sikora.
As far as game predictions…
"A lot to a little, hopefully,” said Bolton.
"We're definitely gonna win,” said Sikora.
While they wont be able to watch it live, Air Force cadets will still be able to catch the game on tape delay.
While the cadets are helping clean up, South Dakota flood victims now have more time to file a claim.
Friday FEMA announced policyholders along the Missouri River now have an extra 30 days to file.