Frank Teixeira was doing what he always does at 6 a.m. on Wednesday – cutting meat and making sure that everything is ready for a day of serving customers at Fagundes Meats and Catering – when local business owner James Rogers walked into his shop.
The owner of California Landscape, Rogers confided in Teixeira that he had been up all night trying to come up with a way to say thank you to the dedicated crew of farmers and dairymen that had been working around the clock to make sure that the levees that protect hundreds of home south of the Highway 120 Bypass hold up under intense pressure.
So together they decided to join forces on Friday and bring Teixeira’s food truck out to the Cardoza barn on Perrin Road and feed the dozens of workers that have mobilized as a true grassroots coalition to turn back the rising water.
And in the wake of Monday’s triumph in preventing a major levee catastrophe, it was also a celebration of sorts.
“We know the worst has yet to come and this isn’t over yet,” said Teixeira – who has lots of close friends that are farmers and dairymen south of the bypass. “But this was one victory in a much longer war and it was good to see these guys who have been working so hard get the chance to get a good meal before they got back to work.
“This was something that James came to me and wanted to do, and we were just glad that we got a chance to do something nice for these guys.”
Since last week, members of Reclamation District 2075 – the McMullin District – have been maintaining 24-hour levee patrols in shifts to inspect the river’s impact on the aging levees that haven’t been tested like this in over a decade.
While there haven’t been any major incidents since Monday, when a pair of firefighters noticed a breach emerging and a team of local farmers responded with heavy equipment to collapse the fracture before it blew open, crews have been active in spotting and monitoring boils and even sinkholes that are becoming more commonplace as the high water continues to soak through the levees and into nearby fields and low spots.
While major relief in terms of the amount of water flowing down the San Joaquin River – which has technically been at “danger” stage for a week – isn’t expected until at least the middle of next week if the spillway at Don Pedro Reservoir is closed on Monday as currently expected.
A request by dam operators to the Army Corps of Engineers to keep the spillway open longer was denied on Friday by the Federal agency, citing concerns about flooding on the lower San Joaquin River.
That decision could change based on conditions.
To contact reporter Jason Campbell email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 209.249.3544.