Residents in Cherokee Cleanup After Flash Flood

(CHEROKEE, IA) Many people in Cherokee, Iowa are beginning to salvage what's left of their basements. Monday's flash flood on the Little Sioux River swept away just about everything for some of them.

Now a unique group of volunteers are helping out.

The smell of bleach fills the air as people all over Cherokee begin cleaning out and sanitizing their basements. Monday's Flash flood had people like Joan Forcier stranded in knee deep water.

"My husband got up about 4 AM to use the restroom and he heard a funny sound and opened the basement door and our basement was flooded with a lot of water. Probably at least four feet," says Forcier.

Her husband woke her up, they grabbed their stuff and waited for help. Firefighters showed up by boat a short time later.

"I was kind of like in a state of shock real tight, because the boat was swaying a lot and we were afraid it would tip over," she says.

Luckily they made it to dry land.

"I never did think about the house, I just thought about how we were both safe," she says.

But now the house is all that's on her mind.

"We can not clean that basement. It is unbelievable how much of that black dirt is on the floor," says Forcier.

Volunteers say there was about two inches of black mud down here in this basement before they started cleaning it this morning. Marie Conklin and her husband arrived just a day after the water receded.

"We have cleaned out some of the basements, going through and sanitizing. We have volunteers throughout the town working in different situations. The biggest jobs is just cleaning out, getting the debris to the road," says Conklin.

And lending a little bit of emotional support.

"My husband and I met in the 2008 Parkersburg tornado and right after that we decided this is a nation wide need and so we started Neighbors Across The Land as friends," says Conklin. "And we're now a husband and wife team that has volunteers all over the United states that respond in different places."

A love story at its finest.

Even though the flood waters have receded, these people still need your help. If you want to volunteer or donate to the Neighbors Across The Land Disaster Relief Group, just go to or call Marie Conklin at 641-691-7204