Archived Story

Progress 2011: Chief 2 Hats

Published 4:00pm Monday, March 7, 2011

Hero: Jeremy Parpart

Secret Identity: assistant fire chief of the New Richland Fire Department and chief of the New Richland ambulance crew

Jeremy Parpart of New Richland stands next to a New Richland Fire Department firetruck. -- Michelle Haacke/Albert Lea Tribune

Base of Operations: New Richland

Superpowers: getting resources together quickly

Kryptonite: not knowing when rising waters would stop

Affiliations: two sons

Origin: Parpart was the leading force in coordinating the sandbagging operations that ultimately saved the New Richland Care Center when heavy rains on Sept. 22 caused the overflow of a drainage ditch that runs into Boot Creek.

Within the span of an hour, he had used his resources to line up sandbags, sand, equipment and volunteers.

“The water rose two feet within three hours and I said we need to get the people out of here,” he told officials just before the New Richland Care Center evacuated.

The people Parpart called set a chain reaction in motion, calling more people for help, who then called even more people for even more help.

“It was just unreal when the volunteers showed up,” he said.

By the end of the day, more than 350 volunteers had bagged up more than 1,500 tons of sand. The work saved the nursing home for worse damage.