Students dedicate spring break to flood recovery - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Students dedicate spring break to flood recovery

by Bryan Goettel

CEDAR RAPIDS (KWWL) - They are signs of progress.

"We moved some really heavy-duty stoves with lots of rust," said University of North Dakota senior Caleb Skipper.

"We've been gutting and just throwing a lot of the stuff away that has a ton of mold," said fellow senior Daniel Smith.

Nine months after the flood, Ushers Ferry in Cedar Rapids still has a long way to go.

"Some of these buildings, just like the mold that's grown inside, it's just awful," said Skipper.

Saturday, the historical village took a signficant step forward in its recovery. Forty University of North Dakota students could be spending their spring break on the beach. Instead, they're hard at work helping others.

"Florida and sitting on a beach all day or going across the country and like, helping people and knowing that you're doing something really good for the community and the world," said UND freshman Stephanie Rosenthal.

"I was a little skeptical, but said I'd try it and now this is my third year going so I just keep coming back," said Smith.

For many of these students, it's service that hits close to home. The school's town of Grand Forks endured a similarly devastating flood a dozen years ago.

"It's sad and it just reminds me of like, yeah, floods do some major damage and it's not something that just goes away right away," said Rosenthal.

It may not be South Padre or Cancun, but it doesn't mean this trip isn't without fun in the sun.

"I want to run around in shorts," said Rosenthal. "It's amazing outside right now."

"It hasn't been this warm in four months up in Grand Forks," said Smith.

Ushers Ferry is just the first stop in a long week for the group. The "Pay it Forward" tour moves east, culminating with a stop in Washington D.C. on Wednesday, where they'll meet up with other student groups from around the country.

Online Reporter: Bryan Goettel

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