Winfield helps flooded Winfield, Mo. Relief effort set in motion here

August 09, 1993|By Kathy Sutphin | Kathy Sutphin,Contributing Writer

The flood relief effort of Winfield, Md., for Winfield, Mo., began with an atlas, a telephone and one woman's concern for Americans in trouble.

After weeks of watching news accounts of residents of the Midwest made homeless by the Mississippi flooding, Wanda Legore decided she was going to do something to help.

Mrs. Legore, a lifelong Winfield resident, said she took out an atlas Wednesday to look for an area to focus a flood relief effort. There, "not far off" the jagged path of the swollen waterway, Mrs. Legore said she discovered Winfield, Mo., "spelled exactly like we are."

After learning that Winfield was in Lincoln County where the city of Troy was the county seat, Mrs. Legore got on the phone. Several calls to Troy and the American Red Cross resulted in Mrs. Legore getting the phone number of the mayor's office. Mrs. Legore talked with Winfield Town Clerk Cindy Hemmer on Thursday.

"One-half of the town -- the east side of town -- is under 5 to 8 feet of water," Mrs. Legore said.

Winfield, Mo., is a small farming community about three miles from the Mississippi River. The area, a suburb of St. Charles, has two steel mills outside the town limits -- one mill is now under water. The town, incorporated with a population of 592 people, has east and west sides divided by railroad tracks.

Mrs. Hemmer said Friday that the floods began July 2 and crested about Aug. 1. "It's been such a strain on everyone -- not knowing when it was going to stop or how high," Mrs. Hemmer said.

About 200 families have been left homeless, according to Mrs. Hemmer. Many families found shelter in schools on the west side of town, she said. Others are staying with relatives or have found temporary living quarters.

The residents are planning their cleanup efforts while waiting for the waters to recede.

Mrs. Hemmer, whose home on the east side of town is under 6 feet of water, said the water is dropping 3 to 4 inches per day. "At this rate it's going to take a long time," she said. "We just don't know what's going to take place."

The Winfield (Md.) Flood Relief Effort was officially launched yesterday, Mrs. Legore said. She said fliers were distributed to area churches for Sunday morning services.

"The main things they need are new cleaning supplies," she said.

Three types of items are being collected -- cleaning supplies and equipment; canned goods and nonperishable foods; and all types of personal hygiene items, Mrs. Legore said.

"The water and sewer plant did survive the flood, so they don't need bottled water."

"I definitely do not want any clothing or furniture," Mrs. Legore said. "There's no place out there for anyone to keep them."

Officials at the Winfield Fire Company have agreed to allow the station at 1320 W. Old Liberty Road in Winfield (near Sykesville) to be the drop-off point for the relief effort. Mrs. Legore's husband, Ron, is the first assistant chief.

Mrs. Legore said the deadline for the collection is Aug. 29.

When asked why she was launching the flood-relief effort, she responded, "Just to help someone you know needs help."

Mrs. Hemmer said Friday that the people of Winfield, Mo., were expecting some assistance from a woman in Medford, N.J., who had once visited the town with her parents and called recently to offer help.

Mrs. Hemmer added that help is greatly needed. "We certainly appreciate it -- it's really nice to know somebody cares."

For information or to offer assistance, call Mrs. Legore at (410) 795-4640.

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