Troy Mills Residents Lend Each Other A Hand to Prepare for Flooding

By Lee Hermiston, Reporter


By Aaron Hepker

TROY MILLS, Iowa - Former Troy Mills assistant fire chief Gary Peiffer said when someone in the small, northern Linn County is in need, it's not uncommon to see a neighbor or two lend a hand.

So, it came as no surprise to Peiffer that when flood waters threatened about 25 homes in the tiny community along the Wapsipinicon River, dozens of residents turned out to pitch in with filling sandbags.

"The neat thing about it - we didn't call one person," Peiffer said. "It's all volunteers."

Dozens of people stationed themselves outside of the Troy Mills Fire Department, scooping sand into sandbags. Others then took the backs to homes along the river that needed additional protection. Peiffer said all of the sand was donated. The nearby Troy Store donated ice and the Dam Bar, located between the river and the fire station, donated food for the volunteers.

Troy Mills is keeping an eye on flooding in Independence, said John Olachnovitch. Troy Mills is about a day and a half downstream from the Buchanan County city. With Independence expecting the river there to crest at 21-24 feet - a record by more than a foot and a half - residents of Troy Mills are preparing for the same later this week.

"All of the neighbors are out helping people get sandbags ready," Olachnovitch said. "Everybody just starts showing up when their neighbor is in trouble. That the nice thing about small towns."

Olachnovitch said he lives along the river, but has built a sandbag wall around his home. Only time will tell if it will withstand the flood, he said.

"Nature's going to do what nature's going to do," he said with a laugh. "You just try to protect yourself the best you can."

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