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Mendon, Missouri, community helps Amtrak train passengers after derailment

Mendon has population of 171
Mendon, Missouri
Posted at 8:08 PM, Jun 28, 2022

MENDON, Mo. — A small town in rural Missouri came to the rescue of many in need after Monday's Amtrak derailment near Mendon, Missouri.

This includes Carol Ann Wamsley, the secretary and treasurer of the Mendon Community Betterment.

“We are just country folk and we're hometown folk, and that's what makes us a special place,” Wamsley said.

Mendon has a population of 171, but to Wamsley it seemed many came to the aid the Amtrak train passengers. 

“It was like 671 people came together," she said. 

People from surrounding communities also showed up to help the passengers.

“We tried our best to show hospitality and kindness and compassion to the victims and their families,” Wamsley said. ”Everything was done from carrying in cases of water, to medical supplies, gurneys, wheelchairs, whatever was needed was brought to the school."

Northwestern is the only school in town, serving K-12 students.

Eric Hoyt, superintendent of the Northwestern R-1 School District, opened the school's doors to those in need. 

“There was no question about whether the response was going to take place," Hoyt said. "It was just how many and how quickly can we get here to do what was needed.”

Northwestern was turned into a temporary reunion, feeding and medical treatment center for passengers.

Hoyt started the work early to make sure passengers, Amtrak employees and others had what they needed. 

“We got the call from emergency medical management, basically asking to help with transportation from the scene for non-injured back to an evacuation point,” Hoyt said. "I made some calls to drivers, to staff members, to kind of start the process. They begin showing up immediately on sight on school."

The people of Mendon not only brought in food and drinks from the only restaurant in town, but a whole lot of compassion.

“It was a wonderful problem to have, but we probably had too many volunteers show up,” Hoyt said.

Wamsley said the quick response from the people of Mendon says a lot about their tight knit community. 

“You don't even think about what you're doing, you just do it,” Wamsley said. "It didn't matter what needed to be done, it got done.”

According to Wamsley, the people of Mendon woke up on Tuesday feeling like they helped the best way they could. 

"Last night, whenever we knew that all the injured people had been cared for, and they were where they needed to be, that's when I realized, 'Okay, some pretty special things happened here today,'” Hoyt said.