Off-duty SSC Police officers lend a helping hand to evacuees after grain elevator explosion

Officers have been out here for nearly two weeks watching all the posts around the grain elevator site. 

Some officers had a short break away from the grain elevator they decided to go home, get their lawn mowers and get to work on the lawns of evacuees. 

"We live here, too and these are our neighbors and we just want to help them," says South Sioux City Police Lt. Chris Chernock. 

These officers have been at the site of the grain elevator day and night for nearly two weeks now. 

They know all too well that the families in the 24 evacuated homes need some help. 

So Monday, off-duty officers got to work mowing the lawns of the displaced. 

"It’s a chance to help these guys. You know, when we’re sitting around watching these checkpoints and guarding the houses, from outward appearances it looks like we’re just killing time, you know and this is a chance to actually proactively do something these folks," says Lt. Chernock.

For these officers, it’s personal. 

"These are good people. this is not the first time that we’ve ever encountered these folks. This is a small town. This is what we do. We live together here. When somebody stumbles, you reach out and you try to grab them," says Lt. Chernock. 

Lt. Chernock says the department has reached out to the evacuees and some of the responses have brought a little laughter to them. 

"Yeah, one guy said it’s ok as long as it doesn’t cost him anything and we kind of got a chuckle out of that because they’re kind of on their edge you know, this is just a nuts and bolts blue-collar neighborhood and yeah, it doesn’t cost you anything and yeah, we’ll do it for you," says Chernock.

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