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Published March 31, 2009, 12:00 AM

Stay-at-home dad makes impact with flood footage

Lee Hoedl, the father of triplets, calls himself a residential education specialist. In other words, he’s a stay-at-home dad.

By: Jeff Kolpack, INFORUM

Lee Hoedl, the father of triplets, calls himself a residential education specialist. In other words, he’s a stay-at-home dad.

He’s also become a stay-at-home video specialist and has become the eyes and ears of the 2009 Red River Valley flood on the Internet.

A series of videos that was meant just for his family and friends has mushroomed into World Wide Web popularity. “Part One” of his YouTube collection had more than 86,000 views as of Monday night.

“Their faces. They’re cold. They’re frozen,” Hoedl said. “They beat their hands on a bag to warm them up. People completely covered in mud. That image is shown a little bit on TV, but we did what 99 percent of the communities across the world would not do.”

Hoedl, who lives in south Fargo two blocks from a dike holding back the Red River, put a theme to it: “WOW,” a reference to “Will over water.” It started on the first day of sandbagging; after about four hours, he grabbed his camera and just started shooting video.

“I always carry a camera with me,” he said. “I didn’t think much about it until the next day.”

He’s not a rookie at video production. He’s done some freelance work for family reunions and family vacations, but people who have commented on the flood videos say they have brought tears to their eyes.

Hoedl, 46, put together eight videos that can be found at www.youtube.com/leehoedl. They were shot with a Canon PowerShot that he says is the size of a wallet. With a memory card, it can shoot between 30 and 40 minutes of video.

“I had it in my pocket, and when we took a break, I started shooting,” he said. “The best part for me was when we were able to take a break and able to go into garages where people set up makeshift cafeterias. They could share their stories and talk to each other.”

He also used submitted photos in the videos.

“I’m one of those people that can’t sit still,” he said. “I have to have something to do. I need a creative outlet, and this is mine.”


Jeff Kolpack can be heard on the Saturday Morning Sports Show, 10 a.m. to noon on WDAY-AM (970). He can be reached at (701) 241-5546.

Kolpack’s NDSU media blog can be found at www.areavoices.com/bisonmedia

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