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Acadiana man helps Alaskan neighbors during Tanana River flooding

Posted at 9:20 PM, Jul 06, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-07 00:14:30-04

Record rainfall flooded the Tanana River in Alaska last week. The flood displaced several families, but some neighbors were lucky to have an Acadiana native living nearby. Growing up with family in Acadiana, Travis Cloud says he knew just what to do to help people out.

"Up here, it's a little different. People are used to the cold, the snow, the dark, but they're not used to rising water levels," Travis Cloud said.

While many were trying to avoid the water, a Lafayette man who now lives in Alaska, got into a canoe.

"I literally have the river right in my backyard," Cloud said.

Cloud explained that he woke up early on June 25th to see the Tanana River rising in his backyard.

"It just came so quickly. Woke up at 7 a.m., I saw the rising waters, I saw it getting two feet high, and I've never seen it get that high in the two years I have lived here."

The UL graduate moved to Fairbanks, Alaska from Lafayette for work. He is no stranger to floods, but he says this time it was much different.

"We'll have water levels rise, but there's no big river flowing through the neighborhood. This turned into current flowing down the streets," Cloud said.

Cloud quickly started driving people out of the neighborhood in his truck. As the waters rose, he used the canoe. He says he spent the next several days helping his neighbors as much as possible.

"Put on my waders, grabbed my landlord's canoe, just started getting people out," Cloud explained.

He says he didn't think twice about it.

"It's something you don't think about, you just want to help other people, and if other people are suffering you have to lend out a hand," Cloud said.

It's something he picked up here at home, thanks in no small part to his mother, Myra.

"We raised him right. I'm a fortunate mom, lucky."