Actor Duhamel returns to flooded NDakota hometown
BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — Hollywood actor Josh Duhamel is returning to his hometown of Minot over the Labor Day weekend to raise awareness and money for victims of a devastating flood that swamped the North Dakota city this summer.
"I have pride in where I'm from and just want to help the best way I could," Duhamel told The Associated Press. "People (in Minot) people are as strong as they come. I'm not really worried about the will or spirit of the people."
Minot is recovering from record Souris River flooding this summer that temporarily forced about 11,000 people from their homes and damaged about 4,100 houses and hundreds of businesses.
Duhamel, 38, is slated to visit flood victims and a Red Cross shelter on Friday and attend a benefit concert on Saturday at the State Fairgrounds that will feature The Black Eyed Peas. Duhamel is married to Fergie, a singer in the band.
Minneapolis-based rockers Charlz Newman also are slated to perform at the Minot Rising concert on Saturday. Two of the tree members of Charlz Newman are Minot natives.
Duhamel is the honorary chairman of the Minot Area Community Foundation Recovery Fund, set up to help Minot and the surrounding area in the long-term recovery. The fund has raised more than $3 million.
More than 12,000 tickets also have been sold for the concert, at $100 per ticket, organizers say.
Duhamel said money from the concert and the recovery fund will go toward purchasing building materials for individuals rebuilding their homes.
"Everybody will get an equal amount, rich or poor," Duhamel said. The goal is to raise more than $5 million, he said.
Duhamel said the home where he grew up and his sister and her family's home were severely damaged by flooding from the Souris River. The middle school he attended remained submerged to its roofline for nearly a month and will likely be condemned.
Duhamel, who stars in "Transformers: Dark of the Moon," was in Russia promoting the film in late June when the swollen river flooded Minot.
He said he would have rather been sandbagging.
"I couldn't get back from Moscow," he said. "I watched it on the news online."
Duhamel returned to Minot about three weeks ago to visit with his family and survey the damage.
"It's unbelievable how much devastation a flood like this does," he said.