"I lost my tent I was camping when it happened." Greg
Dashner said on Monday, July 18 after a series of severe thunderstorms
moved through northern Wisconsin resulting in more than $30 million
in damages, according to the Wisconsin Emergency Operations Center.
Governor Walker declared a State of Emergency for Ashland, Bayfield,
Burnett, Douglas, Iron, Price, Sawyer and Washburn counties on Tuesday,
July 12, due to flash flooding, power outages and heavy damage to
the area's roads and bridges.
Dashner, a resident of the Bad River Indian Reservation, located
in Ashland and Iron counties, has received a great amount of help
from the surrounding area communities and various neighboring tribal
"After the flood, we (the Bad River Band of the Lake Superior
Chippewa Indians), have been getting a lot of help here from everybody
around the community from brothers like (the Ho-Chunk Nation,
Potawatomi and Lac Du Flambeau), they have been coming up quickly
"This is the worst flooding that they've seen in over 50 years
from what I understand." said legislator Henning Garvin. Both Legislators
Garvin and Greg Blackdeer headed the relief operations that traveled
north Monday morning.
"The nation put out a call to Bad River saying 'We are standing
by. What do you need as far as assistance? What can we do to help?'"
Garvin said. "We also heard, speaking with a lot of different people
up there, that the wells are potentially contaminated because of
the flooding. So if they want to have any kind of drinking water,
they have to boil it until the flood waters can recede and they
can start testing all of the wells again to make sure the water
is safe. They just don't know so they said they really need drinking
With the help of the Ho-Chunk Housing and Maintenance Departments,
Garvin and Blackdeer were able to assemble a fleet of trucks and
trailers loaded with various supplies donated by local businesses.
"We tried to put together a few pallets (of water) and we are
going to pick some more up, up north, and make sure that gets to
them. One of the other things that is in need is cleaning supplies,
so hopefully we'll have some bottles of bleach that we can bring
up and drop off and get that to them as well." Garvin said.
The Ho-Chunk Housing Department donated bleach, paper towels,
fans and other cleaning supplies to the relief effort and Whitetail
Crossing, Ho-Chunk Gaming Black River Falls and Badger Max donated
soap, shampoo, conditioner and pallets of water.
The fleet of trucks and supplies travelled north to Wausau and
then to St. Germain to pick up more donations. In Wausau, Garvin
and Blackdeer met Lanette Walker and other Wittenberg tribal members
who collected donations of water from the Wittenberg TAU, convenience
store, youth services, health department and social services.
In St. Germain, Blackdeer was able to contact the Lakeland ATV
and St. Germain ATV Clubs who then organized a donation effort with
Prime Time, a social security club, and Sentry Foods, a family-owned
grocery store. The groups donated a total of four pallets of water,
just shy of 1,100 gallons of water.
"I find it tremendous, they're willing to help people that they
don't even know, have never met," Blackdeer said. "It makes my heart
soar like an eagle."
With a great deal of water and supplies, the relief effort proceeded
to the Bad River Indian Reservation in Ashland County. Before reaching
the Bad River Indian Reservation, Garvin and Blackdeer were welcomed
by the Iron County and Hurley Police Departments which were appreciative
of the donations of water they received.
At the Bad River Indian Reservation Garvin and Blackdeer were
greeted by Lake Superior Chippewa Indians tribal members that were
volunteering at a community building. The volunteers used the building
to organize the various items that were being donated and to serve
meals to the community. "We have been receiving water, just about
everything, food; clothing as you seen. Just about everything that
we kind of need. A lot of cleaning supplies," volunteer Greg Dashner
stated, "which is good." Over 1,100 gallons of water, numerous cleaning
supplies and personal commodities were unloaded into the community
Tuesday, July 19 At the Ho-Chunk Nation legislative meeting
a resolution for a $25,000 donation to the Bad River Tribal Relief
Fund was passed unanimously.
"If you talk to people who deal with disaster management and
disaster recovery people on the ground, they know what there is
but when you start getting flooded with donations, and it's all
with the best intent, sometimes it's just stuff they don't need
right then and there. So a lot of people will donate; like all of
a sudden winter coats will start coming out of nowhere. And they
don't need winter coats right now. That makes them have to warehouse
things and put it somewhere and find a place to store it when they
could be working on the immediate needs.
"The immediate needs are the water and the bleach, but the monetary
donations that have been sent up to the relief fund, they can use
that money however they need to use it in order to get relief where
it needs to go." Garvin said. "Money donations are the most flexible,
they can use that to repair the roads, to buy supplies, and they
can use it for what they need."
In a time of great stress, Garvin remains optimistic.
"It's going to be a long recovery effort but it looks like they
are moving along as best they can."