Rusty, but safe

Story by Red Cross Volunteer Scott Olson

Rescue by front-loader during the Northland flash floods, June 20, 2012. Photo credit: area resident.

With flash flood waters rising fast, apartment building manager Roy Heller–rounded up his building’s residents and moved them to the building’s second floor. The next morning a front-loader made 3 trips to the building, carrying the bewildered residents to safety. Two had oxygen machines. At least one had prescription drug requirements and was concerned about getting refills. One of the ladies said: “my butt got rusty riding in that bucket.”

“My Butt got rusty riding in that bucket.” Rescued seniors tell their story to Red Cross disaster relief worker Carrie Carlson-Guest.

In total, 27 butts were rusted–and saved–on June 20 when an enterprising construction crew-member navigated the sturdy front loader through rushing water of the swollen Moose Horn River and up to the steps of the retirement complex.

At a Red Cross shelter a few days later, Gary Rector’s eyes reddened as he talked about watching the flood water rise over the front stairs of the apartment building, step by step. He wondered out loud about what might come of his tropical fish and pondered the whereabouts of the convertible Chrysler Lebaron that he’d just purchased a week before. Rector, retired musician and professed “hippie” slowly shook his head. Rector, a former a studio musician who worked on occasion with legendary singer and songwriter Del Shannon, only a few days earlier was playing his guitar with a friend in a neighboring park. Now the park was submerged and his home flooded.

Roy Heller, apartment building manager, Scanlon, MN. Photo credit: Scott Olson/American Red Cross

At around 9:10AM Thursday, Heller and Carlton County Sheriff briefed Rector and the other evacuated seniors. The water, they said had finally receded away from the apartment building. The apartment manager stood next to the Sheriff at a long table where the seniors were seated nibbling on snacks and trading stories, and announced that he could now see the entire front yard again. Everyone clapped. The Sheriff said it would be at least a couple days before inspectors could get inside and assess the damage.

Gary Rector, a retired studio musician, stayed at a Red Cross shelter during the flash flooding, Scanlon, Minnesota. Photo credit: Carrie Carlson-Guest/American Red Cross

If you would like to help people affected by the Northland flooding and other disasters here and around the world, you can make a donation to support American Red Cross Disaster Relief by visiting, calling 1-800-RED-CROSS (1-800-733-2767) or texting the word REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation. Contributions may also be sent to your local Red Cross chapter or to the American Red Cross P.O. Box 37423, Washington, DC 20013.

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