Excerpt:Â As floodwaters take aim at the tiny towns lining the Mississippi River, the heartland ethic of neighbors helping neighbors is proving to be a potent force against the rising water. Volunteers up and down the river in Illinois and Missouri joined sandbagging operations early Thursday in the frantic effort to contain the Mississippi as forecasters predicted near-record crests from Quincy, Ill., to Winfield, Mo.
"There's one thing about Midwesterners," said Don Giltner, mayor of Louisiana, Mo., a picturesque river town north of St. Louis where 40 square blocks were under water Wednesday, three days before the Mississppi's expected crest. "We're resilient as hell. We're all worn out. We've put in a lot of long days."