The many hundreds of volunteers who filled and stacked more than two miles of sandbags on Tuesday are being credited with saving downtown Cedar Falls from flooding. The Cedar River peaked there early this morning about six feet higher than the previous record, set in 1999.
Blaire Baldwin, a student at the University of Northern Iowa, and her friend Tim Dodd, were among those reinforcing the levee with sandbags. Baldwin says, "I actually was in class and my friend Tim gave me a call and said, ‘We need to go downtown right now.’" Dodd says, "You call your friends, get some friends down here and before you know it, you’re making a difference, you know?"
Many of the volunteers worked on the sandbag wall for ten hours, as the floodwaters inched ever closer. Caitlin Clark, a Cedar Falls native and also a U-N-I student, says she called her college buddies to help save her downtown. Clark says: "(I’m) trying to save the place I grew up. I love this town and I’d do anything for it so, just trying to protect it."
While a half-million sandbags were put in place Tuesday, more volunteers and sandbags are needed today to reinforce the wall which has never before held back this much water. Lynne Wagner has an apartment in downtown Cedar Falls and joined the volunteer sandbaggers.
Wagner says: "It’s amazing. I’ve never seen it this high before, ever. I’ve lived downtown for several years, this is the highest I’ve ever seen it." Downtown Cedar Falls has been evacuated, except for the volunteer sandbag teams. Security is being provided for the area to safeguard property by the Cedar Falls Police Department and the National Guard.