Montrose community working together to pick up the pieces after flooding

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MONTROSE, S.D. (KSFY) - More than 20 homes were affected by flooding once the East Fork Vermillion River decided to leave its banks. And many homeowners are working to pick up the pieces.

"We got three or four neighbors whose walls already went in," said Russell Hirschman, Montrose resident.

There is widespread damage across much of town. Many people have water in their basements; some already know they've lost nearly all they own. Hirschman had several feet of water get inside of his home and has been working overnight trying to keep it from rising.

"We're probably down to about two and a half three feet," Hirschman said. "Didn't want to pump too fast. Pumping too fast, you know, your basement walls will cave in."

The sight of all this water is bringing back memories for one couple living in the town. Randy and Joann Thompson's home was destroyed back in 1993 due to the river and say they feel for the families affected by this year's flooding.

"It's an ache, it's an ache in my heart because where my house was that's where we have our shop right now," Joann said. "You know, it's just the feeling of loss and the feeling that you know other people are going through what we've already gone through. I mean it breaks my heart."

Dozens of stories of neighbor helping neighbor were told, from the football and volleyball teams helping fill sandbags to two random strangers to the community coming to monitor something precious for them.

"We had two guys monitoring the lift station," said Darryl Sieverding, Montrose superintendent. "They were out on the little island out there for all night. So, we switched out them this morning. So, right now we're just kind of as a community we're just kind of monitoring it. So, we kind of did our work yesterday and we're hoping everything goes down."

While homes may be lost, the community has shown they will work together to rise above the water.

"It's one of those things that shows how strong you are as a community," said Jacob Sechser, Montrose resident. "The community will remind you how much people are willing to help each other. So, as much as it kind of stinks. It really, you get to see how great of a community you are in when everyone comes together to help."

Residents say they have not seen flooding this bad since 1993.