Governor, general visit southwest Indiana towns

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Jeff Lowry
  • Indiana National Guard
Flying in a UH-60 Blackhawk helicopter, Indiana's Governor, Mitch Daniels, and Adjutant General, Maj. Gen. R. Martin Umbarger, visited southwestern Indiana towns checking on flood waters, Hoosiers and their Guardsmen June 10.

"What the general and I are out here to do is to make certain people are well supplied, have everything they need and that agencies are working together as seamlessly as possible," said Gov. Mitch Daniels.

Flood waters damaged farm crops in the Midwestern states of Indiana, Michigan, Wisconsin, Iowa and Minnesota. While all crops weren't saved, property and lives were in Elnora, Ind., which is about 40 miles southeast of Terre Haute, Ind.

Indiana Guardsmen, Marines and local citizens helped reinforce the levee adding thousands of white-colored sandbags.

"Everyone worked hard yesterday," said Tony Wichman, the county commissioner of Elnora. "We appreciate the job they did."

"You guys saved our town," he said.

The Soldiers were proud of the hard work they did when many said the levee wouldn't stand against the raging waters.

"They thought the levee wasn't going to hold, but yes it did hold," said Sgt 1st Class Paul Sharp of Indianapolis. He is assigned to Battery C, 2nd Battalion, 150th Field Artillery and worked on the levee in Elnora.

In preparation for the flood waters travelling southward, Indiana National Guard Soldiers and Airmen worked side by side filling sandbags in Vincennes, Ind. The bags are expected to be used to protect the power plant in the southern part of the city.

"It's always good to help somebody out whether your friend or neighbor," said Senior Airman Eric Krackenberger, an electrician with the Civil Engineering Squadron, 181st Intelligence Wing. He is a resident of Terre Haute, which is also where the 181st is based. Torrential rains hit the western Indiana city hard Saturday.

"I'm always willing to help out wherever I can," said Krackenberger.

The last town the governor and general visited was Hazelton. The White River there is above normal stages, but hasn't risen to the levee yet. They talked to local officials there to determine whether sandbags will be needed.

Officials expect waters to rise within six inches of the top of levee.