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Amish, Mennonite neighbors helping clean up after Montana flooding

Floyd Yoder story.jpg
Posted at 9:33 AM, Jun 24, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-24 11:33:55-04

BILLINGS - The Amish and Mennonite communities joined the cleanup following the floods that hit south-central Montana.

They're among the many groups that have come out to help their neighbors with a task that would be almost impossible without them.

"The one house we did here in Absarokee had about eight to 10 inches of mud," said Floyd Yoder, a Mennonite Church member from Gold Hill, Montana. "We had to shovel all that out. Take all the appliances. Take the furniture out. Take up the carpets down to the sub floor and remove drywall and then take the wet insulation out from behind the desk just so we can dry it. That's a pretty standard process."

Yoder says many are not insured, but they will help everyone.

"We just go in and help whoever wants help," Yoder said. "Some people want to do their own, but a lot of people are very grateful for help."

Yoder and his group have forces within the Amish community in Roberts to help with the cleanup.

He's also the coordinator for the Montana Rapid Response Team, working with Christian Aid Ministries.

"We don't do it for praise or anything, but there's a big need out here," Yoder said Thursday.

Yoder and his crews have cleaned up after fires through the years, and this week, they have helped in Fromberg, Absarokee, Roscoe and Red Lodge, including at the Yodeler Motel.

"They were enormous help, age 13 to 44," said Tulsa Dean, Yodeler Motel owner. "And just amazing men. They just stopped by Wednesday night. They're just walking around town and just wanted to help."

Yoder says he's paying it forward after receiving help in 1998 after tornadoes hit his hometown in Pennsylvania, "I know what it's like to be on the receiving end, and it just strengthened that I want to help out wherever I can."

As we've seen so often, the disasters have brought people together in ways they could not imagine.

"That's kind of neat thing about a small town," said Pastor Werner Seibert of Absarokee Baptist Church. "That's a cool thing working together, joining hands, making a difference together."

"We can't see the whole picture, but God does," Yoder said. "And in the end, there's hardly ever a disaster that people years down the road that they can't look back at that time and see a lot of good that came out of it."

Spring floods have created a statewide disaster for Montana as historic high waters and raging waves cut their way through the Treasure State.

MTN stations across the state are raising money to support our neighbors affected by this devastation. With the help of the Scripps Howard Foundation, you can make a contribution that will go to those in need.

The MTN Flood Relief Campaign is a Missoula and Western Montana KPAX initiative in collaboration with the Scripps Howard Foundation, a 501(c)(3) organization.  Contributions to the MTN Flood Relief Campaign will be used to help local Montana communities and are tax deductible.