Fifty-one members of the Missouri National Guard helped set thousands of sandbags in place on the Hannibal flood levee prior to an anticipated near-record flood crest.
Second Lieutenant Matthew Frame, the officer in charge of what was designated the Hannibal flood duty mission, said the citizen soldiers were dispatched to America's Hometown within 24 hours of the city's request for manpower was made to Gov. Mike Parson.
Troops representing the 1438th Engineer Company in Macon, 129th Field Artillery unit in Chillicothe and 3175th MP Company in Hannibal arrived in town at 11 a.m. Wednesday. By 1:30 p.m. sandbagging work had commenced. The work continued until about 10:30 p.m. Wednesday. After spending the night at Hannibal-LaGrange University, they resumed their work, placing sandbags at 7:30 a.m. Thursday.
"We should wrap up everything today," Frame said Thursday morning. "It should take us until midafternoon to finish up."
Frame is pleased with how the work has progressed.
"Things have been going really well," he said. "I've had zero issues since I got on the ground here. Logistically everything is running great. City officials and city crew members have been fantastic to us. Everybody has been very welcoming. We are very humbled to be here for them."
Members of the public have gone out of their way to express appreciation to the visiting troops.
"We have so many people walk up to us and thank us for what we’re doing," Frame said. "We are really just here to help out. There is no need for the thanks, that's what we are here for. That's part of our job. We're part of a community ourselves as national guard soldiers."
As the Missouri National Guard wrapped up its mission in Hannibal, Frame was confident the reinforced levee would continue to do its job.
"I think it will hold," he said. "We are building it up just above what it was for the flood of ’93 and they are calling for it to be within about a foot of water was in ’93."