By Jeanne Sexton-Brown
What happens when you get Boy Scouts together? The dads come up with an idea for an automated sandbagger to help fight the flood in Lisbon. Brian Shelton and Allan Stulz were at Boy Scouts with their sons back in December, 2010 when they started thinking about a sandbagger. They came up with a rough sketch and Stulz took it to a friend who put it on CAD, a computerized drafting program.
Once they had the design they started collecting donated parts. Bobcat donated four sheets of metal, Bri-ton donated two sheets of metal. Then came Titan Machinery who gave sprockets and Sturdevant who also provided parts. Grotberg Electric gave them a motor to run an auger to keep the sand moving. True Value Hardware kicked in some giant springs and Riverside Builders donated wood for platforms and walkways.
“Downtown businesses kicked in and made this a real doable project,” said Brian Shelton, head of Operation Sandbagger. “It was a real community effort. These guys have donated their time and input to make this thing happen. Most of them after putting in a full day’s work at their day jobs.”
Shelton said Jerry Lamb suggested they put in baffles to spread the sand out when it is dumped into the hopper so they added those.
“It’s a group effort and design,” said Shelton.
Among the workers who have put in time and energy are: Neil Olerud, Roger Kratcha, Dalelyn Baasch, Stulz, Shelton, a couple of other men who didn’t want their name used or mentioned.
Tuesday, March 15 was the shake down run of the new piece of equipment.
“It needs some tweaking but we have time and that is why we did it this way,” said Shelton. “It looks like we may need a bigger motor to turn the auger. We may need to more plastic liners for it to keep the sand from “bridging” and not wanting to go down. We are trying to get away from someone having to stand up on the side and use a long handle to shove the sand down in the hopper farther.”
With so many people working so hard to produce a product to help the city, there is no doubt that it will get done.
“Already it works as well as the one the city rented last year for $4500,” Shelton said. “It will only get better from here and we still have time to get it perfected before we need to start filling sandbags.”
Shelton wants to donate the sandbagger to a non-profit group who can rent it out and use the money for charity.
When asked if this was something his company could start manufacturing to sell, he said, “No this isn’t really what we’re into. This is just something to do for the community. When you look around at the folks who have worked on this, none of us are close to flooding. We’re not in the flood plane.”
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