Airmen assigned to the 740th Missile Squadron from Minot Air Force Base spent Sept. 6 helping flooded homeowners. The group of 41 members worked at five sites, which included a complete demolition of a home that had been coordinated through Hope Village.
Squadron member Capt. Nick Gydesen’s home was damaged during the historic 2011 Souris River flood and has been slowly rebuilding it. He found out about Hope Village during his rebuilding process and suggested the idea of a service project to his squadron commander, Lt. Col. Heidi Paulson.
Paulson decided going through Hope Village was a good way for the squadron to serve Minot residents who had their homes flooded and were still struggling to rebuild.
“We wanted to find a place we could go and help,” Paulson said. “I hadn’t heard of Hope Village.”
Second Lt. Tyler Stanley served as point man for the event, which the squadron exercised as a commander’s call, a mandatory gathering event.
Although some commander’s call days are spent on training and briefings on topics like safety, finance and planning, the members also do volunteer work. The 740th MS previously worked in a soup kitchen but took a turn in the flood recovery efforts that afternoon.
Speaking to her squadron before they departed to five different worksites in the flood zone, Paulson noted that many within the Air Force community had been affected by the flood. “More than a year later, the community is still ravaged,” she told them. “We have an opportunity to make an impact out there.”
Many Minot residents are unaware that there are still approximately 1,200 flood survivors still living in Federal Emergency Management Agency temporary housing units. Some of the Air Force personnel working through Hope Village weren’t even living in Minot at the time of the flood.
Tech Sgt. Jonathan Dodd, a Minot native assigned to the base and facility manager instructor for the squadron, helped with a demolition of a home that sat on a corner lot. His team leveled the house in a matter of hours, then removed trees and debris in order to clear the way for a modular home.
Other teams gutted and mucked homes as well, cleaned up a stretch of the highway and helped with other rebuilding projects.
The 89-member squadron is in charge of managing missile launch and alert facilities. On commander’s call days, all personnel not assigned to normal work or training exercises are required to attend them.
The 41-person group was the largest 740thMS group that has participated in a commander’s call.
“It’s nice to have this many,” Paulson said.