Guard soldiers sent to help with flood damage

VEHICLES DEPART WEDNESDAY from the Dickinson County Armory in Kingsford as the Michigan National Guard begins repair operations in response to flash floods in Houghton and Menominee counties. (Chris Tomassucci/Daily News photo)

LANSING — The Michigan National Guard has been called out to assist in repairs in the Upper Peninsula on washed-out roads and other damage caused by the severe rain and flash flooding in the region.

Approximately 70 soldiers will be activated in response to the emergency declaration issued by Gov. Rick Snyder. They include individuals from armories in Kingsford, Iron River, Calumet, Sault Ste. Marie and Montague.

Snyder has declared a state of disaster for Houghton and Menominee counties, opening the way for state and federal assistance.

The soldiers are members of 107th Engineer Battalion, headquartered in Ishpeming, and the 507th Engineer Battalion, headquartered in Kalamazoo.

“This is the right thing to do,” said Maj. Lucas Lanczy, Michigan National Guard liaison for the U.P. operation. “Our soldiers come from the local communities, and disaster response at home is why a lot of soldiers join the Guard. We are happy to help.”

The soldiers have been requested to move gravel to temporarily repair areas that have been washed out, allowing stranded residents to get in and out of properties affected by the floodwaters. This work also will improve access for emergency services.

The initial activation is for 10 days, although the Michigan National Guard has the ability to increase or decrease the duration depending on how the mission progresses.

“Amid vast destruction caused by flooding in our Upper Peninsula, community cooperation — Michiganders helping one another — is thriving,” said Maj. Gen. Greg Vadnais, adjutant general of the Michigan National Guard and director of the Michigan Department of Military and Veterans Affairs.

The National Guard was also called out after flash floods in Gogebic County in 2016.