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National Guardsmen commemorate Great Flood of ’93

This 4th of July marks 25 years since the Great Flood of ’93 and on Wednesday, National Guard members who were on the front lines in the fight against the flood were honored in a ceremony at the National Guard Armory in Quincy.

"I walked up on top of that levee and that water was 2 inches from coming over. I mean it was right at your feet. You talk about a scary feeling, seeing this water move very rapidly," said Drew Dukett, a national guardsman during the Great Flood of 93.

As if it were yesterday, Drew Dukett and other former national guardsman remember what it was like to fight the swollen mighty Mississippi. 

"I was one of the 205 that General Lynn talked about that was here," Dukett said. " (I) got called on the 4th of July and was here the next morning."

"My daughter was born on July 18th while I was still on flood duty. So she’s actually a flood baby. Now she’s 25 years old and it’s hard to believe that 25 years ago at this time we were on flood duty," said guardsman James Altenhein. 

Guardsmen paused to commemorate efforts to hold back the rising flood waters.

"I’ve never forgot it because I lived it 24 hours a day for six weeks and we put in a lot of long days," said General Donald Lynn.

Lynn led the area’s flood fighting effort. He addressed residents and visitors on the Quincy riverfront Wednesday night during the July 4th celebration and spoke with guardsmen and their families earlier at the armory. 

"We did all we could do for six weeks and fortunately we didn’t lose any lives," General Lynn said.

Guardsmen say it was an Independence Day unlike any other. 

 "It was a team effort for all the first responders in the area and all the local governments, local agencies, and fire departments and police. Everybody had a hand in it believe me. It was all hands on deck," Dukett said

"If a kid was getting in danger, we jerked him out. We didn’t give them a chance to get hurt. We had minor injuries. Back aches and arms hurting and what have you but nothing serious," added General Lynn, who was also presented with a commemorative plaque Wednesday from current Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner.
 

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