Volunteers helped wind damaged communities save man hours, money

Published: Monday, Dec. 5 2011 5:16 p.m. MST

Residents in Bountiful work to clean debris out of a yard as thousands join in to clean up areas Sunday, Dec. 4, 2011, in Davis County.

Scott G Winterton, Deseret News

KAYSVILLE — What Davis County residents accomplished in Kaysville in just eight hours on Sunday would have taken the city at least two months to complete, according to Kaysville Mayor Steve Hiatt.

But Hiatt said Utahns coming together to help their neighbors in a time of crisis really isn't anything new.

"I think we're a different culture of people," Hiatt said. "I was seeing men, women and children out cleaning up. There was no one who wasn't putting in effort."

In a state that has seen Utahns band together in such emergency situations as the Herriman wildfire of 2010 and the major floods of 1983, Hiatt said Sunday was another example of volunteers answering the call for help.

"The lion's share of labor came from our residents who bound together," he said. "I have never in my life seen a more organized, dedicated effort."

Centerville Parks Director Bruce Cox echoed those thoughts. "All day yesterday, you saw people who were not concerned about their own vehicles or personal property. They were using all the resources they had to help their neighbors," he said Monday.

The Davis County Sheriff's Office reported Monday afternoon that the Davis County Landfill had received at least 3,100 tons of waste since Thursday. The Bountiful City Landfill had received at least 1,253 trucks full of debris and waste from Thursday to Monday afternoon.

Not only did individual citizens answer the call for help, but many private businesses also donated their manpower and machinery to help clear out debris left behind by last week's devastating windstorm through Davis County.

"Their help was tremendous," said Bountiful Police Sgt. Gary Koehn. "People were working eight to 10 hours, especially (Sunday). The lines to the dump were unbelievable."

As of Sunday night, Koehn said officers had counted 225 large piles — ones that would require front-loaders to remove — still on the streets of Bountiful.

Koehn credited many small and big business alike for pitching in, such as Woods Cross-based Wind River Excavation. About 25 company employees volunteered their time, driving tractors and dump trucks through the streets of Bountiful removing tree limbs.

While helping clean up the piles of debris in his own neighborhood, owner Cameron Wright he realized he and his business could lend some unique aid.

"People only have so many pickups and trailers … and everybody's working feverishly to solve the problem," he said. "We just started running around the valley, trying to get resources and equipment as fast as we could to get them here."

In Kaysville, Hiatt said businesses like Morgan Asphalt donated large trucks to help get green waste to a temporary landfill set up on a 10-acre field at 1285 S. Angel Street that's to be developed into a park.

"It was an enormous amount of waste," he said.

Between 100 and 150 vehicles with volunteers dropping off green waste were lined up to get into the park all day Sunday, the mayor said. "Our residents came through like you couldn't believe."

Those who weren't moving tree stumps and limbs were randomly delivering drinks and food to those who were working.

Many businesses also made donations, said Centerville City Planner Cory Snyder. Little Ceasars, Subway, Walmart and Costco all made food donations to the many volunteers working to clean up debris around his city.

"In Utah, people generally put others before themselves. There was never more evidence of that than we saw yesterday," Hiatt said.

The volunteer effort likely saved Kaysville tens of thousands of dollars, he said.

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