Flood fight continues on the Fourth of July in McClure - WSIL-TV 3 Southern Illinois

Flood fight continues on the Fourth of July in McClure

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MCCLURE (WSIL) -- The flood fight didn't stop during the Fourth of July holiday in Alexander County. 

Volunteers flocked to the village of McClure to try and save homes from rising seep water. 

Inside the Spark Ministries church, it looked like a normal Fourth of July party, but outside, flood waters surrounds homes and businesses in the village of 400 people. 

Volunteers working through the holiday because the flood fight doesn't take a break. 

Brian Winans grew up in McClure, but now he lives in East Cape. 

Winans came back to his hometown on Thursday to place sandbags throughout the village. 

"I had to kayak out of my house today and to the bridge, get my car and drive around the levee to get here," Winans said. "Fourth of July is always about leisure time, but today it's about giving back to the community and I think that embodies everything to do with patriotism."

The heat didn't stop dozens of volunteers from spending their holiday in McClure to help. 

"It's been very hot but we have been pushing through it because we know what it's going for a good cause," volunteer Maureen Corbell said. 

Corbell and her dad, Douglas, came from Carterville to help load sandbags on the trucks. 

Douglas said it was his daughter's idea. 

"Makes me feel proud that she wanted to help other people," Douglas said. 

Currently, the only way into a neighborhood south of the village is by boat. 

There's nine homes in Egyptian Acres and nearly all of them have water inside. 

Residents said this flood is the first time they have ever had to build walls of sandbags to protect their homes from the water. 

Scott Mann is taking care of his childhood home which is inside the flooded neighborhood, while his dad is in rehab for a broken ankle.

Until a few days ago, Mann said he was able to drive his truck down to his parent's home, but now the water is nearly four feet deep. 

Mann said pumps are constantly running in the basement to protect the finished basement.

"I've been getting things out of the basement that I haven't seen in 45 years," Mann said. "Toys, old toys of mine that I haven't seen since I was a little kid."

Outside of the Mann house is a wall stacked five rows high with sandbags to stop the water from flowing inside.

"It's not like you can sandbag and turn a pump on and you're good," Mann said. "It's a fight everyday, every minute."

Mann said he was eight-years-old the last time he remembers a big flood, but it still doesn't compare to this. 

"In 1973 it almost got this bad, but not this bad," Mann said. "You go to sleep and you wake up and think it's a dream and then you find out it's not."

Mann and other residents weren't spending the Fourth the traditional way, but they were surrounded by friends they didn't even know they had. 

"The help that we have had has been tremendous," Mann said. "You don't really realize how many friends you have until something like this happens."

The Village of McClure still needs your help. 

Starting Friday morning at 9:30, volunteers can meet at Spark Ministries on the south end of McClure on Route 3 to fill sandbags. 

The only way to get to McClure is to enter from the north on Route 3.

You will have to drive through four inches of water but it is safe, just take it slow. 

Food and drinks will be provided for volunteers. 

A business owner in Anna is collecting donations for the residents in McClure. 

Leslee Stoffell grew up in McClure and she is collecting food, water, gloves and monetary donations to help her hometown. 

Stoffell is collecting items at Southern Roots Hair Company, 335 E. Main Street, in Anna. 

The Southern Seven Health Department's Medical Reserve Corps are also collecting donations to help local flood victims. 

On Friday from 9 a.m. until 12 p.m. you can make a donation to the "Flood the Bus" event. 

Click here for more details. 

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