Senator Max Baucus today named Curt Belts, retired Missoula Rural Fire Chief the “Montana Hero of the Day” for his tremendous work helping Missoula area residents impacted by severe flooding. When Missoula County set up a flooding hotline to help victims and homeowners impacted by rising floodwaters, the line was soon getting many and at times more calls from people who wanted to know how they could help. The Missoula United Way stepped up to help coordinate volunteer efforts and asked to bring Curt Belts out of retirement as former Missoula Rural Fire Chief to put his emergency management skills to work. Since he was asked to pitch in, Curt has been working 14 hour days helping match all the needs of community members with resources and volunteer.

“I’m honored to recognize Curt’s hard work and the important role he’s played helping folks through the severe flooding. He is a real Montana hero,” said Baucus. “Curt’s story is so great because it also highlights the Missoula community’s response to their neighbors in need. It’s amazing to know the hotline was not just receiving calls for help – but was also inundated with people wanting to know how they could help their neighbors. I’m looking forward to sharing Curt’s story on the floor of the U.S. Senate as our Montana Hero of the Day.”

Curt has coordinated 50 to 60 volunteers a day to help fill and haul sandbags when residents call in to say they’re homes are near flooding. He’s credited not only with making sure all the volunteer efforts go smoothly – but also for taking care of the little details like getting sunscreen and bug spray for volunteers and getting clean water and food to people who need it.

Right now he’s overseeing efforts to stockpile sandbags around homes and get volunteers ready to be on standby through Friday and the weekend as runoff is expected to swell the river again. How You Can Help: Call the Missoula County Highwater Hotline…406-258-4636 (INFO)

Baucus launched his “Montana Hero of the Day” initiative to draw attention to the unsung heroes making a difference in their neighborhoods throughout the 2011 flooding disaster gripping the state.

Story from Kathy Weber,Montana Press Secretary