MINOT, North Dakota — A faith-based effort to provide housing for flood recovery volunteers in Minot has ended 17 months after the historic Souris River flood swamped North Dakota's fourth-largest city .
Hope Village hosted nearly 400 teams comprising nearly 5,300 volunteers from 48 states and five Canadian provinces. They helped nearly 550 homeowners with repairs. The Rev. Paul Krueger, president of the Hope Village board, estimated the value of the volunteer help at $3.25 million.
Many organizations with several church denominations took part in Hope Village. The final few mobile homes were closed Monday.
"The flood of 2011 does not get the last word, but the people of Minot do," said Krueger, pastor at Our Savior Lutheran Church. "The community is strong. The people of Minot are strong, and this flood doesn't win."
The June 2011 flood caused by heavy spring snowmelt and rains damaged or destroyed more than 4,000 homes, businesses and other structures in Minot, and caused an estimated $690 million in damage.
Margaret and Joe Hennes said that thanks to Hope Village volunteers they can finally sit in their living room once again, after living in a temporary housing unit following the flood.
"I've got lists of all of the different church groups that they sent in from all over the country," Margaret Hennes said. "California, Rhode Island, they came from all over."
Volunteer Nels Beckman, from Hayward, Wisconsin, is on his fourth trip to Minot. On Monday he spoke of wearing his volunteer badge rather than a cross around his neck at his church where he serves as a ministry assistant.
"For me, this little ID badge is a form of the cross of Christ," he said.
Mayor Curt Zimbelman said he had high expectations for the Hope Village effort and was not disappointed.
"I think a lot of areas in the U.S .are going to look at how this was set up and how it was handled," he said.