On The Frontlines Of The Floods Cathy Fick, cooking up a storm in Grand Forks, N.D., and Todd Cook, a newly expert sub-pumper and sandbagger are fighting the good fight against the encroaching flood waters of the Red River.
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On The Frontlines Of The Floods

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On The Frontlines Of The Floods

On The Frontlines Of The Floods

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JACKI LYDEN, host:

LYDEN: Now, we turn to a few people fighting the good fight on the ground in North Dakota. Todd Cook is holding off the water at his house, just about eight miles north of Fargo.

Hi, Todd. How are you doing there?

Mr. TODD COOK: Well, we're holding up, Jacki, thank you.

LYDEN: You sent us a couple of pictures of your house, and it's one of those houses that seems to almost have a wall built around it. Would you describe that?

Mr. COOK: My house is surrounded basically by the Red River, which is -it's like a castle surrounded by a moat. The low end of my house is about a foot and a half deep with water right now. That's our escape route. If we have to get out, that's the way we're going.

LYDEN: Todd, when people have to face floods like this, everybody rigs something up to try to keep the house dry. What have you done?

Mr. COOK: I have my sub-pump in the basement, and I have two back-up pumps with hoses ready to go, and then I have an extra hose that's just ready in case my hose outside freezes. I have a patio chair and some pieces of wood that's holding it up so it doesn't hit the ground.

And last night, it got down to about five degrees, so I actually took a heating pad to keep the pipe warm so the pipe wouldn't freeze, and we've been throwing salt pellets in the water so the water in the pump won't freeze, also.

LYDEN: It looks just miserable with the ice and the cold, as well as the rising water. How are you holding up?

Mr. COOK: The first couple days was really, really - it was rough. Now, I think we've gotten the hang of it, and I don't mean I'm an expert at this. But the pumps are holding water back. You know, I've got my brother here. My wife and kids, they're out of here. So, I know they're safe right now.

So, you know, I've never been through anything like this before. So, you know, I'm kind of learning as I go, and I'm learning a lot about plumbing, sandbagging, just everything, you know? It's just a lot of stuff.

LYDEN: Well, we really wish you good luck with it.

Mr. COOK: Thank you.

LYDEN: The Red River runs north, as we've learned, and the high waters are headed straight towards Grand Forks, North Dakota, about an hour north of Fargo. That's where Cathy Fick has been spending - Cathy, I guess you've been spending a lot of time at the stove, is that right?

Ms. CATHY FICK (Campus Minister, Christus Rex Church): I have, I have. It's wild out here. My house is right along the water, and so we've been shoveling snow and building dikes and dealing with all this.

LYDEN: And what are doing at the stove?

Ms. FICK: Oh, at the stove right now, I am making meatball sandwiches and hot chocolate for Army men because they're helping us dike right now. So, you just can't imagine the food that's coming out of my kitchen.

(Soundbite of laughter)

Ms. FICK: But people keep showing up, and I keep feeding them, and we've gone through more buns than I can even imagine. It's really fun, though.

LYDEN: Well, it's got to be really, really welcome. Cathy, I understand that you're a pastor, and I was just wondering if you've been writing tomorrow's sermon or anything like that.

Ms. FICK: Well, I was scheduled to preach, and my colleague graciously, on Tuesday, called me and said, would you like me to preach for you? I did preach after the 1997 flood, and it's a pretty emotional thing to write about losing your home to water.

So, I decided it would be better for me to pray with my community and let them be there for me rather than me try to be there for them this Sunday.

LYDEN: Yeah.

Ms. FICK: And that's a good gift that they can offer because they're dry, and my house has water sitting against the dike. So, we're hoping that our home stays dry, and we're hoping that our neighbors' homes stay dry, as well.

LYDEN: Well, we'll be hoping the same thing for you.

Ms. FICK: Thank you.

LYDEN: Cathy Fick is campus minister at Christus Rex Church.

Ms. FICK: Thanks. Bye.

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