Sandbagging for Quentin

I wasn’t at all surprised when I saw the line of cars stretching down a dead-end dirt road in Oakport Township on Thursday afternoon. The Red River Valley is full of decent people who answered requests on a local radio station to help save the home of 73-year-old Quentin Goehring.

He was sandbagging against a river approaching from across the street on Wednesday evening, when he slumped over and died. The family will plan a funeral and celebrate his life, but right now the river is still rising.

“This is something we’d never see down south,” Grace Bichanga said. Her aunt and uncle own the farm where Mr. Goehring lived. “We’re motivated. People were complaining about having to sandbag yesterday, but we’re not complaining today.”

Adam Wilson, 14, of West Fargo was sandbagging all morning elsewhere, but headed for Oakport Township when his mother texted him that a man had died.

Dozens of volunteers shoveled sand into sandbags and loaded them onto pallets. Two bobcats took turns moving them to near the house where Matthew Goehring,Quentin’s grandson, built the dike around his grandfather’s home…

“He was real healthy, he walked every day and he worked every day,” Karl Goehring said of his father. “He could outwork me and he could outwork his grandkids,” he told the Associated Press.

At the very least, they came close on Thursday.

  • This is an incredibly sad, yet incredibly uplifting, story. Quentin’s death shows our vulnerability. The response to a call to sandbag his home shows the goodness that exists. Thanks for sharing a story that truly makes this flood personal and not a situation of only statistics and plans.

  • jfh

    a nicely written remembrance, Bob. kudos.

  • Jeanne

    I heard you talking about this on the radio this morning, Bob. How sad and what a terrible thing for the family to have to cope with while trying to battle a flood, too. That’s why it’s important for the young and able-bodied to step forward and help where needed. Karl may have been healthy, but this is back-breaking work, plus the extra toll of the stress and worry. I appreciate that the local radio stations and others, like you, get the word out. And, yes, there are many good people willing to lend a helping hand. I’ll be watching for the rest of your posts.