FFA youth finish ‘Operation Payback’

RIPLEY, Ohio — The Midwestern United States flooding of 1993 returned in 2008 and many agricultural communities are experiencing the challenges of cleaning up after another episode of inclement weather.

Images of homes inundated with flood waters filled local and national television newscasts during June.

Helping each other. In 1997, when southern Ohio experienced flooding problems, the Eddyville-Blakesburg FFA chapter from Eddyville, Iowa, traveled to Ohio and assisted the Ripley-Union-Lewis-Huntington FFA with flood cleanup in the Ripley area, as well as in Falmouth, Ky.

In mid-July, the Ripley-Union-Lewis-Huntington FFA chapter traveled Eddyville, Iowa, help areas damaged by flooding from the Des Moines River. The village of Eddyville was fortunate in that there was no direct flooding of homes during the recent episode and the town’s levees were not breached.

Six Ripley-Union-Lewis-Huntington FFA members and two chaperones assisted Eddyville community members.

In 1993, members of the Ohio FFA Association and local chapters adopted Eddyville, Iowa, and assisted with flood cleanup operations, thus beginning the relationship between the Ohio FFA and Iowa FFA.

Big projects

The 2008 cleanup operation was coordinated by Patrick Powers, agricultural education instructor at Eddyville-Blakesburg High School.

The major project accomplished during the trip was the complete removal of interior and exterior walls of a six room, one-story home located near the river that had up to 6 feet of water in it during the height of the flooding.

Homeowners Charles and Karen Wilt said the FFA members accomplished about two months of work in two days, saving them an extraordinary amount of time in putting their home back together before the cold returns this fall.

Approximately six roll-back Dumpsters were filled with building material removed from the home. The home was virtually stripped to its original studding.

Other small projects were also completed during the stay to assist members of the Eddyville community.

Making it work

Eddyville Fire Chief Rick Smith opened the Eddyville Fire Department and allowed the members of the Ripley-Union-Lewis-Huntington FFA to use the kitchen and boarding facilities.

Ripley-Union-Lewis-Huntington FFA members and chaperones each received an Eddyville Fire Department patch and belt buckle for their services to the community. Southern Hills JVS provided the van transportation, while fuel and other associated costs were paid by the Ripley-Union-Lewis-Huntington FFA and its members.

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