Mark Erickson expected to have a group of 10 or so people helping him protect his home from impending flood water.

The last house on Front Street, Mark and his wife Karin Erickson’s home is in one of the few at-risk areas in Hudson. They haven’t had to sandbag since 2001, when 2 inches of water filled their home even with the sandbags that lined it.

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When Saturday morning came, the Erickson yard was filled with 60 people shoveling sand and hauling sandbags to line his home.

“It’s great,” Mark Erickson said. “We were in trouble.”

More volunteers spread out along Front Street, bringing the total to nearly 100 people helping their neighbors.

The United Way St. Croix Valley organized the effort. It put out the official call for help on Thursday, March 21.

“People just really responded,” said Communications Director Jessica Francis.

They came in groups and as individuals, with shovels in hand and work gloves at the ready. The effort was made up of churches, Boy Scouts, Rotarians and others who heeded United Way’s call for help, or just saw the sign on the road.

“No problem,” and “Of course,” were the responses, as United Way representatives thanked each person for coming.

The turnout was a reflection of the spirit of the Hudson community, Francis said.

“To me this is a great example of the community coming together and protecting their fellow community members,” she said.

United Way Executive Director Ann Searles said the volunteers planned to start at the end of the street and knock on each door, helping those who needed it.  

“We’ve got sand so until we get done and make sure this area is set, we’re going to stay here ‘til we know they’re all safe,” Searles said.

Volunteers worked to stack the sandbags, aiming for 2-3 feet to protect Erickson’s home.

The Ericksons plan to stay in the home. In the past, they’ve relied on canoes to get out for groceries and supplies.

United Way encourages residents to report any flood damage to the Wisconsin 2-1-1 system, so the county can track the total damage and possibly receive federal funds.

More information can be found at unitedwaystcroix.org or on the United Way St. Croix Facebook page.