When Their Town Was Underwater, They Decided Not To Wait For Help

Brandon Weber Curated by

When members of a community devastated by natural disasters come together to help clean up and get things back to relatively "normal," it just makes life a bit better, don't you think?

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Early September 2013, the rain came to Colorado's Front Range and it stayed. The soil had saturation point. Canyons became gauntlets, dams burst. President Obama declared a national emergency, releasing FEMA and the National Guard. By the time the storm stopped, over 11,000 people had been evacuated, 19,000 homes badly damaged, thousands completely destroyed. "Knee Deep," however, is not a film about a flood, it's a film about how a community took action after a flood.

Hi! My name is Aly Nicklas and most of the time, I'm a writer, photographer, and film-maker here in Boulder, Colorado but for a few months last Fall, I did something really different. I helped start and run a flood relief organization with a group of incredible friends. We called ourselves quite appropriately, "The Mudslingers." The tangible impact we had was noteworthy. We moved a lot of mud but it was the intangible impact that inspired me most. Something shifted in all of us that were involved. For the first time, my life wasn't about me at all, it was about what I had to give.

My name is also Ali. When my friends decided to create the Mudslingers, it was about a lot more than just picking up shovels. It was about taking action when action was needed.

In "Knee Deep," we'll explore the tipping point that incites individuals to take action.

We'll look at risk, reward, sacrifice and what it means to inspire your neighbor.

It was amazing to see that kind of benevolence, to see that kind of love. It taught me some incredible lessons. In addition to, you know, changing the whole outcome of this, they taught me some incredible things about humanity.

You see this stuff on the nightly news and you see it and read about in the papers and you're like, "Oh wow! That's really cool." It's amazing and incredible to see it in action. It's something that I don't think personally, I'll ever forget. It's pure and it's honest and it's that change in the world I want to be part of.

One of the most powerful lessons that we learned from this experience is that you don't necessarily have to know how to do something in order to start doing it.

Our goal of this film is to empower individuals, communities, you to examine your tipping point for taking action and then, just get out there and start even if you don't know exactly what you are doing or how it'll turn out.

Whenever I talk about the Mudslingers, I keep coming back to this analogy of a wheel, each spoke being equally important. Everyone that chipped in, whether they baked us cookies, shared our Facebook page, or showed up day after day to do hard physical labor for a complete stranger, contributed and without all of those people, it couldn't have happened.

Today, we're asking you to back us and become another spoke in the wheel. And to show how much we appreciate every single one of you, we've created some great rewards centered around taking action. Even if you can't afford to pitch in today, please share it. Everything counts.

Ali and I are bootstrapping entrepreneurs and the reality is, we can't afford to make this film without your support, which is why we are on Kickstarter. And just so you know, if we don't raise all the funds, we don't get any of it.

Which means that Aly Nicklas will have to sell her car. Nobody wants that to happen.

It's really old. No one will buy it.

There's also that. Anyway, thank you for your contributions. We really appreciate it.

And thank you for making this wheel that much stronger.

There may be small errors in this transcript.
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This video is from a Kickstarter project that is seeking funding — click on that link right there if you're inclined to help.

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