Arlington Residents Try to Help Neighbors Prevent Another Round of Flooding

Arlington Public Works handed out 2,000 sandbags Monday and will distribute them again Tuesday

In Arlington, a string of recent flooding has homeowners worrying their property could be next. On Monday, many of them lined up for free sandbags from the city, including one man who's turned helping his neighbors into a full-time job, and a family affair.

With the efficiency that comes from too much practice, Arlington Public Works crews Monday loading sandbags for worried homeowners like Justin Womack and his father.

"He's got water issues in his front yard," Womack said. "I've got water issues in my backyard. We're just getting concerned."

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Gerald Kern was also in the line of cars, but he wasn't there for himself.

"Are you going to just let your friends and neighbors flood out or are you going to do something about it?" Kern asked.

He stepped up after people started to reach out for help on Facebook.

"I'm always good at 'MacGyver-ing' things," Kern said.

Monday, he took a whole palette-full of sandbags to a fellow parent at his kids' school. She has a serious drainage problem in her backyard that borders Pantego.

The storm drain running between the two cities is too small and pushed water into her house during the last two major storms.

"So it's come all the way into the room here," homeowner Tina Brown said.

Kern loaded up the sandbags for her, with the help of a friend and his two kids.

"Some days are awesome," said his daughter Paige Kern. "Some days could be a little bit better but, you know we're helping people."

The "MacGyver" came out when Kern used a power washer to cut a quick path for the water to drain, and used a sump pump to clear the rest away from the house.

"We just know that we can all count on each other. It's awesome," Brown said.

Kern said we need more of that spirit, now more than ever.

"I think in this time of everything's kind of toxic politically and this and that, it's like, 'Everyone, let's take a deep breath,' we're all neighbors," Kern said. "Put down the torches and pitchforks and grab a sandbag."

Arlington Public Works handed out around 2,000 sandbags Monday alone, and roughly 20,000 during the storms of the past few weeks. Any Arlington resident can take up to 25 at a time from public works headquarters at 801 West Main Street. Sandbags will distributed again on Tuesday.

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