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Published September 16, 2013, 03:14 PM

Grand Forks native assisting Colorado flood fight efforts

A 73-year-old man from Grand Forks is doing his part to assist with flooding relief efforts in Colorado.

By: WDAZ Staff Reports, WDAZ

A 73-year-old man from Grand Forks is doing his part to assist with flooding relief efforts in Colorado.

As many as seven people are reported dead after historic flooding in Colorado, where efforts to locate more than 1,000 missing people have been hampered by clouds that are grounding search helicopters. Long-time Grand Forks volunteer Mason Hollifield is spending 3 weeks in Colorado. He flew to Denver on Saturday morning and spent Monday in Loveland, one of the hardest hit areas.

"About halfway up here we got down to 10 miles an hour, traffic backed up due to bridges out and things like that. When I was trying to drive downtown I ended up going off the road. It was like trying to drive in a carwash," says Hollifield

Hollifield worked for the Red Cross for more than 20 years. He's been volunteering for major disasters ever since his retirement in 2004.

“It gets in your blood,” said Hollifield. “It’s very, very rewarding. I enjoy the work.”

Because of his leadership experience, he typically works as an administrator at disaster sites. “They’re sending me up to Fort Collins (Colo.) to set up a headquarters,” Hollifield said.

Hollifield said a standard volunteer stint is three weeks, but he believes the need for help will last longer than normal.

“It’s done nothing but rain since I got here (on Saturday) and they say there’s at least two more days of rain coming,” he said. “Many roads are underwater and a tremendous number of bridges are out.”

Hollifield said he is one of about 200 Red Cross volunteers from outside of Colorado. “And we’ll be getting more,” he said. “It’s going to be a messy job.”


Grand Forks Herald Writer Ryan Bakken contributed to this report.

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