PILGER, Neb. Volunteers arrived this morning at 7:00 A.M. to sign in at Wisner-Pilger High School and receive their credentials before they were bussed over to the town of Pilger, to begin sifting through debris as homeowners searched for personal belongings.
With the heat outside and the dust in the air, it was not an easy feat. Jerry Shephard volunteered today and he said, "People were getting hit with branches moving around and it was just part of clearing things out and it was somewhat somber and it was a camaraderie thing."
Another volunteer told 10/11 that many of the homeowners just kept saying "thank you" repeatedly, as they were still in shock that so many volunteers had come up to help. The town of Pilger is only about 400 people and four times that amount came just today.
Lori Ruskamp, the librarian of the town, did mention that she hopes many of these volunteers will take breaks to rest.
She said, " I know no one should get overheated. I bring them in and I say 'Hey, get some breeze' because... its kind of miserable today."
But Shephard says, despite the heat, he can already see how volunteers are working some magic. He says he saw so much of the small debris already picked up from people's lawns.
Adiar Sue Sturgis is the President of "Cause for Paws" in Lincoln. While she is very concerned about how homeowners are coping, she also wants to help in a different way. "What we're doing now is we're going out and doing search and rescue which we think is a wealthy cause and we're going to be doing this continually," said Sturgis.
Sturgis was there with other members of her organization and says she hopes to help any animals that are hidden or scared.
The town of Pilger had so much support today - either way, many of the hundreds of volunteers who showed up today - will continue to make frequent appearances.