OB Disaster Relief Helps N. Dakotans

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Residents in the Fargo, North Dakota region are bracing themselves for yet another flood crest.

Officials expect the nearby Sheyenne River to top out at 39 feet by next weekend and the U.S. Coast Guard is standing by in case of a mandatory evacuation.

Click the player to watch the report from CBN News followed by Pat Robertson's comments about how you can help Operation Blessing International.

Meanwhile, some people are returning home for the first time since the flooding and they're wondering if it's worth the effort to clean up.

"A lot of stuff we can't use anymore holds a lot of dear memories - a lot of dear memories," said Lerou Marteri. "My daughter's walker she took her first steps. she sat in that and rode herself along, but now it's history. We'll go on."

Materi of Linton, North Dakota survived the floods that nearly destroyed his home and livelihood.

"When I left the farm here, I was walking in water up to my waist," he told CBN News.

In the past, Materi and his family have dealt with hail storms, droughts, and floods - this time he wasn't quite prepared.

"Kind of took us off guard," he explained. "Came in most of it in the middle of the night. There's really no preparation to get out in the middle of the night."

Three-quarters of Materi's herd were drowned, some of which were carrying calves.  Twelve of the cattle lost their calves.

Rancher of 40 Years

Materi's been ranching for 40 years and was looking forward to retiring and living his dreams.

"I told my wife I was going to buy a Harley and tour the United States," he said. "I was planning on another year to retire, but I don't know.

"I had told my husband that he needed to get our important things out that we like and he should throw some gasoline on the house and burn it up, because whose going to clean up that mess?," Karleen Materi said.

"The basement was entirely full of water," she explained. "Country water. This is full of manure and fertilizer and who knows what else."

Operation Blessing's Disaster Relief Team Steps In To Help

With no help - clean up would take months. But the Materi's heard that the Operation Blessing Disaster Relief team of volunteers was in town.

"You always get a satisfaction from seeing something cleaned up for somebody else," said Lance, a OB volunteer.

"That's hard to believe that people would come that far to help people in North Dakota go through these trying times," Materi said.

Operation Blessing showed up just in time. Materi gave CBN News a tour of his flood damaged home where the mold was starting to grow.

The water from the basement came up to about five inches.

"There's five inches on the floor here," Materi said. "There's different levels. It probably didn't get as bad in here cause this is the highest point."

Volunteers Clean Up Home

The volunteers spent hours tearing down sheet rock, cleaning up the basement, and removing damaged items from the Materi's home.

"You try to bless other people, because of what Jesus did for us," said Jim, an OB volunteer. "That's what it's all about."

When asked how grateful to God he was for the Operation Blessing team, Materi replied, "Words are hard to express," he said. "I got deep…it's in my heart. I'll always remember you guys. It brings tears to my eyes."

When the clean up was just about done, the team offered a prayer of thanksgiving to God.

"We thank you for this opportunity and be with us today," the prayer leader said. "In Jesus' name. Amen."

"Thanks a lot," Materi said as he shook hands with the OB team members. "It would be hard to do it without you guys."

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Michelle Wilson

Michelle Wilson

CBN News Reporter

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