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UTNG Soldiers Fill Sand Bags to Help Northern Utah Residents Battle Flood Water

TREMONTON, Utah — For two chilly days in February, more than 20 Utah National Guard Soldiers assigned to the Homeland Response Force, 97th Troop Command and the 300th Military Intelligence Brigade, filled sand bags at the Box Elder County Fairgrounds in Tremonton, Feb. 22-23, in an effort to assist residents battling flood waters in northern Utah.

At the request of the State of Utah Emergency Operations Center, the Soldiers traveled to Tremonton armed with shovels and a sand-bag machine to fill sand bags for use by county residents as needed.

“For this particular operation, we’ve been asked by state and county officials to come up here primarily for sandbagging assistance,” said Capt. Lance Curzon, officer in charge of the sand-bagging operation. “We’re filling sand bags right now at the fairgrounds, allowing people to come pick up sand bags as they need them.”

In two days, Utah Soldiers and Airmen filled nearly 3,000 sand bags even given the challenges that Soldiers often encounter during operations like this.

“We have about 12 personnel right now, but we do have a sand bag machine that we’ve been using off and on,” said Curzon on the first day of operations. “We’ve had some challenges with the wet sand, but we’re going to continue to try and use that and get as many sand bags filled as we possibly can for the community.”

Stan Summers, Box Elder County Commissioner chair, admitted that it’s been a long month for residents and community leaders in Box Elder County.

“This just didn’t start a couple days ago; we’ve had flooding problems out west for some time,” said Summers. “We’ve really been working on this since January. As a county in the last 10 days, we’ve filled over 30,000 sand bags with 700 tons of sand.”

Flooding has been a problem in northern Utah this year due to quickly-melting snow and excessive rain.

“I want to give my heartfelt thanks… to everyone here for the incredible work that they’ve done to keep people safe and make sure the damage is restricted to as little area as possible,” said Utah Lieutenant Governor Spencer Cox during a press conference in Tremonton. “We’re grateful for all of the help, the volunteers, the tens of thousands of man hours filling sand bags, people working around the clock, people volunteering. Everybody’s working together and we just want them to know that the state of Utah is behind them 100 percent. Our resources are here at their disposal. We had a National Guard unit up here filling sand bags and they’ll continue to help through that. We’re in very good hands here in Box Elder County.”

Many of the Utah Guard Soldiers assigned to fill sand bags expressed gratitude at the opportunity to help their fellow Utahns.

“The Utah National Guard is comprised of members from across the state,” said 2nd Lt. Scott Kramer, a member of the Homeland Response Force who served as liaison officer during the operation, “and we are honored to be here to be able to help our communities.”

Story and photos by 1st Sgt. Brock Jones

Photo captions: Utah National Guard Soldiers assigned to the Homeland Response Force fill sand bags at the Box Elder County Fairgrounds in Tremonton, Feb. 22.



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