A family farm can be much more than just a place to call home. For many in the Tri-States, the crop fields are also their livelihood.
And Saturday three generations of one family came together to protect their way of life.
Thanks to his life on the farm, Jim Carpenter is no stranger to hard work. But the work was a little different.
When the Illinois Department of Transportation and Missouri Department of Transportation decided to close the Champ Clark Bridge between Louisiana, Missouri and the southern end of Pike County, it was time for Jim to get to work at the Sny Island Levee, which is divided by U.S. 54 and needs a makeshift levee of sand, plastic tarp and sandbags to bridge the two levees together.
But he wasn't alone.
Part of the nearly 20 people helping fill sandbags and build the levee across the highway Saturday morning included his son Shawn and his grandson Wade. Three generations of a line of farmers in Southwest Pike County with much at stake in this community.
"We farm about 4,000 acres. We've been here since the mid-50s, when my grandpa moved here," said Shawn, who said Jim brought him to the levee during the Flood of 1993.
And Jim says he's not only sharing the work with his boys, he's teaching a lesson about life along the Mississippi River.
"It's just part of it. You've gotta protect the land that you farm," he said.
Protecting their land, and their livelihood, before the river level gets too high and spills over.
"Well, the road level is lower than the crest that they're calling for and we need to tie the two levees together and close the highway off around that 24 foot elevation," explained Sny Island Levee District Commissioner Brady Borrowman.
Jim says they did similar work for the floods of 2008 and 1993. Shawn says they are ready to sandbag any time the situation merits it.
"This is our way of life, we need to protect it the best we can."
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