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CHARLES CITY — A group of 15 Charles City and Rockford students are heading to Nebraska to help a flooded rancher.

The Future Farmers of America group is led by agriculture teacher Jim Lundberg. The students are headed to Schuyler, Nebraska — about an hour from Lincoln — after school today and will stay until Sunday.

There are 10 Charles City students going and five from Rockford. Bret Spurgin, also a Charles City agriculture teacher, Hanna Hartman, FFA adviser, and Matt Hoeft, a Floyd County cattleman, also will make the trip.

“We heard about the terrible flooding they’ve had out there and the problems they’ve had,” Lundberg said. “Being from Charles City we’ve dealt with a lot of floods, and most of the students in my class have dealt with the floods from the Cedar River.”

Lundberg’s students heard about cattle ranchers struggling along the Platte River, Lundberg said. The students made contact with some of the ranchers and were told physical labor was needed most.

“That’s how this whole thing fell together,” Lundberg said.

It isn’t just an opportunity for students to help, it’s an opportunity for them to learn.

“I’m a big proponent of service-based learning,” Lundberg said, “where we can teach students to serve.”

The FFA’s motto is “Learning to do, doing to learn, earning to live and living to serve,” he said. “I think that living to serve part is something we can always do more of.”

Lauren Connell, 17, a Charles City junior, will make the trip. Connell has gone on previous mission trips with her church to Kentucky and Wisconsin.

“I honestly think that this opportunity isn’t something that you can teach anyone without actually going and doing this and seeing what this farmer is going through,” Connell said.

Connell knows how flooding can impact life. Her house has been flooded four of the past five years.

Flooding has impacted the Midwest a lot in the last decade, Lundberg said, but “I don’t think we’ve seen anything like what people on the Platte River have gone through.”

Donations to help the students’ mission can be sent to Nebraska Strong, 500 N. Grand Ave., Charles City, 50616.

“The outpouring from our community to support these people in Nebraska has been overwhelming,” Lundberg said. “Charles City is just that kind of community. They want to help others.”

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