Thursday, March 6, 1997
For boy, 13,
'mission' is a lark

Helping Guard
involves ride in a Humvee

The Cincinnati Enquirer

MANCHESTER - Brandon Lanham found a way to help a local woman get food for her infant daughter in this flooded Adams County town.

But the 13-year-old boy insisted his motives were self-serving: He simply wanted to ride in one of the Ohio National Guard Humvees, the high-mobility vehicles used by the military.

''I just thought it would fun. I didn't really think about ... (anything) else,'' Brandon said.

Ohio National Guard forces exceeded 1,000 Wednesday - building roads, delivering medicine, repairing bridges and performing other work. It is part of the response in the 16 flood-ravaged counties of southern and southwestern Ohio.

''We'll bring as many National Guardsmen to duty as necessary to mitigate this emergency,'' said Maj. Gen. Richard Alexander.

Brandon was able to ride along with the guardsmen, who escorted 29-year-old Penny Rigdon to the store to get baby food. The truck had to leave dry ground to ford the waters over Main Street to get to the Cox IGA.

It's one of the few shops opened in the Adams County town's business district. National Guard troops estimated 75 percent of the town was covered by water.

Mrs. Rigdon said she had to move from her home because high waters threatened to knock down her door. Others chose to stay. At Second and Main streets, a man and woman could be seen standing on their porch surveying the water-covered streets.

''A lot of these people don't have much in the first place, and they're not willing to give up what they have,'' said Specialist Phillip Edmondson of the 324th Military Police Company, based in Middletown.

''They also don't like the feeling that they're being forced out,'' said Mr. Edmondson, 24, of Cincinnati.