Machesney Park Village President, neighbors, come together to fight flooding

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Communities all over the Rockford area band together when floodwater forces many to take action to save their homes.

Panic swept through Gilbert Street on Friday as fast as the flood waters, but the neighbors got together that morning to help stem the tide.

“All these people in this area all got together,” said homeowner Walter Lange. “Camaraderie. When there’s always a big problem, people get together, it seem like.”

Dean Holub and his fiancee, Carissa, are in the process of planning their wedding. The couple credit their neighbors help with saving their home.

“This is our first year here, so we’re pretty inexperienced about dealing with the flood,” Holub said. “So, these guys have been great, showing us what to do. It really means a lot. That’s why we stay.”

Help came from all over the block, even from those least expected.

“For me, this whole thing goes right back to [Village President Steve Johnson] and everything he did for us to make it easier,” Lange said. “There’s nothing easy about a flood. [He was] out there in a suit and tie, shoveling sand the entire day on Friday. I can’t say enough about that guy.”

“I came right from a meeting,” Johnson said. “I had and I saw the need of so many people there.”

Johnson made sandbags to hand out to the neighborhood.

“I was helping shovel the sand into the actual bags, which is a process in itself. I really felt like there was a need to do that for people,” he said.

Lange and his neighbors credit Johnson’s presence as the reason why so many felt calm during the storm.

“When you have management in place, that’s doing everything it can to make it better for you, it’s a lot easier,” Lange said.

Work is still being done to get help and resources for the neighborhood.

Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker is expected to be in Rockford sometime this week to view the flood damages.

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