Parks department seeks photos of sandbaggers

Since the first call for sandbaggers was made in early May, hundreds of volunteers have filled thousands of sandbags for the city of Hannibal.

While a majority of the sandbags wound up on the Hannibal flood levee, not all of them have been used to protect the historic district. The levee was raised last month in Hannibal in anticipation of flood crests forecast to approach the 1993 record of 31.8 feet.

"Thousands of the sandbags made went to local residents," said Hannibal Parks and Recreation Marketing Director Mary Lynne Richards.

During Gov. Mike Parson's visit to Hannibal on Monday, John Hark, Hannibal's emergency management director, said "many, many sandbags" have been sent by Hannibal to the South River Drainage District. Hannibal also has sent sandbags to Canton, Ilasco and Saverton.

Hark said that when people up and down the Mississippi River are engaged in a battle to save property and possessions from flooding, city and county boundary lines disappear. "It's about helping people," he said.

Sandbagging operations at the street department’s maintenance facility were suspended Friday after the Missouri National Guard and local volunteers finished fortifying the Hannibal flood levee. More than 100 volunteers worked Friday morning to stockpile sandbags for future flooding, Richards said.

A call for volunteers to fill sandbags went out again Saturday after the city of Hannibal "received an emergency request from area communities to the north for sandbags," Richards said.

Hark stressed that the request for volunteers was a "precautionary measure" intended to replenish the sandbags that were being hauled north.

With sandbagging operations again on hold, the Hannibal Parks and Recreation Department is seeking photos of people who have been filling sandbags over the past few weeks. These images should be sent to the parks department's Facebook page. Richards said sandbagging photos will be added to the time capsule that will be opened in 2069.

"We are so grateful to our volunteers," she said. "We want to show even 50 years from now how our community pulls together in a time of crisis."

danny.henley@courierpost.com