National Guard Troops Help Out in Fremont County

 Victoria Fregoso reports, vfregoso@K2tv.com 

The National Guard is working all over Fremont County, helping out and lending a hand to prepare for the expected high water.

"We've been up in Dubois filling sandbags, we've been here in Lander and we've been in Riverton filling sandbags, we've been to Saint Stephens filling sand bags," said 2nd Lieutenant Ivo Wambeke with the Wyoming National Guard. "Just in my platoon we've filled 5,000 sandbags so far.

National Guard and volunteers are filling sandbags by shovel and hand, but
new this year to speed up the process, county employees created a sand loader that they've attached to a sand filled truck.

"All they have to do is open a gate and the sand falls into the bag," said George Robinette with the Fremont County Maintenance Department. "If you get good coordination, they should be able to bag three times as more sand in an hour, than they could by just doing these other hoppers."

The platoons sent to Fremont County feel confident they can help a majority of residents because they began preparing early.

"It was a whole different story last year because we had to fill sandbags and place them at the same time. This year we're filling a lot of sandbags ahead of time," Wambeke said.

Some of the sandbags they're filling right now will be put in place by troops, but county residents that feel the flood water might reach their property are also welcomed to them.

"They are intended for people to come get and save their houses or their stuff so they can make as little work possible later when it does hit."

On average, the troops have worked 12 hour shifts since they arrived on Tuesday. They will continue to prepare for the possible floods until the water levels begin to rise at which point they plan on helping communities put sand bags in place.

"Our stay here in Fremont County is awesome. As always the people here are very supportive and it's great that we can do something to give back to them."