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Out-of-state students help local flood victims

PLYMOUTH, Ind. – More than 80 high school students from Grand Rapids are in Marshall and Elkhart counties, cleaning up some of the areas hit hardest from February’s historic flooding.

The students are with the National Relief Network. NRN is a disaster relief network that brings student volunteers to state and federally declared disaster areas.

Since Saturday, volunteers, from Caledonia High School in Grand Rapids, Michigan, have been assisting in any projects that people in these areas need to rebuild their homes and lives.

“When we’re cleaning up, and you see how bad the houses were flooded, and everything that you’re doing and taking down drywall and putting up floors, it’s pretty amazing,” said Lauren Hudson.

“It makes it so worthwhile, like meeting the homeowners, and them really just showing us their appreciation,” said Taylor Vanderberg. “We’re just so happy to do it.”

Homeowner and Plymouth resident, Richard Bisnauth, received help from the students. Bisnauth said more the eight feet of water flooded his home in February. The volunteers helped Bisnauth build a fence, clean the yard, and install insulation at his house.

Bisnauth added he’s grateful for this help and thinks more homeowners should take advantage of the aid.

“The one thing that we have learned is that volunteers don’t necessarily have the time, but they have the heart, and we’re experiencing that right now with the kids that came all the way from Grand Rapids,” said Bisnauth. “They’re really working, working very hard.”

The National Relief Network will be in Marshall County next week too. More students arrive starting June 11, with work wrapping up on June 15.

People who live in Marshall County and still need help, or wish to help, can call (574)316-0170.

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