More than 160 Illinois National Guard troops are being housed in Vandiver Hall at Southeast Missouri State University while they work in southern Illinois to help with sandbagging efforts to protect communities from devastating flooding.
About 80 soldiers arrived last weekend and another 80 were activated and arrived Thursday to help fight continued flooding in East Cape Girardeau, McClure and other communities in southern Illinois. The soldiers have filled more than 100,000 sandbags and are providing transport for citizens with medical emergencies in McClure to area hospitals, according to Staff Sgt. Shawn Gillison.
The soldiers are being housed on three floors in Vandiver, which is located near the corner of Henderson and Broadway.
“We are very pleased we are able to accommodate the troops here on our campus and to provide them food and lodging while they work to fight this natural disaster,” said Dr. Carlos Vargas, president of Southeast Missouri State University. “We are very fortunate to have this residential space available during the summer months and are very happy to do our part to assist where we can. Our thoughts go out to everyone impacted by the ongoing Mississippi River flooding and those facing challenges and inconveniences as a result of this situation.”
In addition, eight Southeast employees who normally commute to Cape Girardeau from Illinois also are staying in Vandiver following the closure June 21 of the Bill Emerson Memorial Bridge, Illinois Route 3 near McClure, Illinois, and Illinois Route 146 in Alexander County. The University extended an on-campus housing offer last week to its employees who normally commute to work from southern Illinois.