Wed, Sep. 7, 2011 - [Cross Country]
The night of July 27, 2011 will be one that Dubuquers won't soon forget.
That night it started raining. And then it rained more as the midnight hour approached. And then it rained some more in the early morning hours. Then, as daybreak neared on July 28, it rained even more.
On the morning of July 28, many residents the tri-states woke up to water in their basements and quickly had their fingertips pressed against scalps in disbelief.
Twelve hours. More than 12 inches of rain.
It was as much rain as the Dubuque area is used to seeing in a two to three month stretch of the summer. This July night, it pounded the tri-states in about 12 hours.
Some rushed to help immediately as businesses and residents alike scrambled to save vehicles, homes, keepsakes, and even lives.
Some others were unable to help themselves or find the help they needed in the cleanup process.
Weeks after the devastation, many of the residents in lower lying areas near the Mississippi River, lower income, and elderly population still needed help drying out and cleaning up.
And that's where former Loras College runner, current Loras College assistant coach, and current city of Dubuque employee Mary Bridget Corken and Duhawk head coach Bob Schultz come in.
The two Duhawk alums teamed up to coordinate the largest group effort among the 2011 flood volunteers by using the over two dozen runners on the men's and women's cross country teams.
"When those storms and the floods hit Dubuque at the end of July, I knew that we wanted to do something to help those people right here in our community," head coach Bob Schultz said after the day of cleanup was over.
"Our assistant coach, Mary Bridget Corken, works for the city and helped head up the program of helping those in the community hardest hit by the floods."
Supplies in tow, the group most used to lacing up their shoes were slipping on gloves nearly a month after the storm hit.
"The men's and women's cross country teams were by far the largest group we had volunteer," Corken said.
"I know one of the homeowners was specifically impressed and also appreciative to have the teams in his basement. He knew cleaning it by himself wasn't an option. It was just one basement, but it goes a long way in the recovery of the people who live in that house and can try and return to a daily routine sooner than if the Loras group wouldn't have made themselves available."
Corken said shortly after the Duhawks' service work that 235 hours of volunteer work had been put in by Dubuquers in the first month of recovery.
"It was rewarding to see my two jobs coincide and have these student-athletes quickly become a part of the Dubuque community after just a few days on campus during their training," Corken added.
"Our student-athletes are blessed and fortunate to have so much to offer…I believe (things like) this are part of what we are called to do," Schultz noted.
"I was glad we were able to help out a few families."
Fast feet and helping hands. Being more. Being Loras.