Students aid victims of Santa Clara flood

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Dixe State College students have come together to help neighbors after the 93-year-old Laub Dam broke and flooded Santa Clara last week.

“We got five or six months of rain in the span of two to three hours,” Washington City Manager Edward Dickie said. “It looked like a big river busting through town when the dam broke. Thankfully this didn’t happen at night, and we were able to get everyone out. We had our policemen and firemen run from home to home to let residents know of the flooding.”

Santa Clara residents’ houses were not as fortunate. More than 61 houses were damaged, according to a Santa Clara assessment report.

One house’s basement was filled nearly to the ceiling by 96 inches of water.

Although the damage has been extensive, the outpour of relief supplied by the community has been overwhelming. 

“We make sure we meet the immediate needs of those affected,” said Margie Woodruff, development and community relations director at American Red Cross. “We provide them with shelter, food and clothes.”

Dixie State College, local businesses, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, local sports teams and many other organizations helped supply those needs.

Currently the Red Cross is working with the Washington County Relief Team in maintaining an information center in the Santa Clara Town Hall.

Aid arrives in the form of places to stay, clean-up kits and free or discounted food for the victims of the flood.

Clean-up started the very night of the flooding.

“I received an invitation to help on Tuesday night, and I had just enough time after school to help,” said Shauna Herrmann, a sophomore nursing major from Idaho Falls, Idaho. “The Circle K International club served over there together, and we were assigned to help an elderly couple move cans and boxes of food out of the basement storage room that was flooded.”

As one of the volunteers, Colby Horton, a junior pre-medicine major from Santa Clara, described his experience when he said: “A lot of what we’ve done this past week has been clean-up. There’s a lot of mud we’ve been shoveling out and helping people clear out their houses. We’re working this week and next week on getting supplies together.”

Students can still help and make a difference by donating to the flood victims.

“Right now we’re going to start posting lists around campus of what’s needed, and we’re going to be asking people to donate on a specific day,” Horton said. “Then we’ll actually go and drop it off in Santa Clara.”

The sheer number of volunteers so far has been outstanding.

“There have been so many volunteers who come up to us and say, ‘I’m here what do you need?’” said Records Management Coordinator Wendy Griffin. “Everybody from little kids to older adults have turned out to help.”

Even though it may be six or eight months before a complete recovery, after prepping for and then rebuilding, the overall outlook is positive.

“It has been a very well-run operation here,” Woodruff said. “I am so impressed with Santa Clara.”

As residents look toward the future, there are those thinking of the best way to continue. 

“The best thing for everyone in our community to do is to stick together,” said Jessica Cochran, a freshman criminal justice major from St. George. “Help out when there is someone in need, and really put yourself out there to set our town apart from the rest. Make an unbreakable bond so if something like this happens again we can count on the wonderful people to be by your side. We know we will have someone to count on.”

Students who want to be involved can stop by the Red Cross Information Center in the banquet hall at Santa Clara Town Hall or call at 435-673-612 ext.235. Another way stay updated on service projects for the flood victims is to like Dixie State College’s Circle K International page on Facebook.