By Kelly Hagen, NDU Communications

When a water main burst at Robert Miller Elementary School in Bismarck on March 19, several teachers there lost personal items and property in the flood. North Dakota United, the union of 11,500 public educators and employees statewide, collects funds annually into a Disaster Relief Fund for occasions such as this, and the nine teachers who are members of their local affiliate of NDU, the Bismarck Education Association, received checks today from NDU President Nick Archuleta.

North Dakota United member Heather Hintz shows President Nick Archuleta the damage sustained to her classroom at Miller Elementary School in Bismarck.

“Teachers pour more than their hearts and souls into teaching our children,” President Archuleta said. “They also pour a considerable amount of their own funds into their classrooms to enhance the learning experiences of their students. When a catastrophic event occurs, as it did at Robert Miller Elementary, North Dakota United wants to do whatever we can to help our teacher members recoup what they’ve lost. That is why we created the Disaster Relief Fund in our budget. We hope to never have to use it, but we are glad to do so whether the losses to our members are due to natural disasters or, as at Robert Miller, a water main break.”

The members of NDU were grateful for the help. “As teachers, we spend a lot of our own money in our classrooms,” said Heather Hintz, proud member and leader at BEA. “The water damage at Miller ruined lots of things – from book shelves to packages of poster-board. We really appreciate that North Dakota United reached out to us and offered us financial assistance during this stressful time. This money will be put straight back into our classrooms and go directly to the students. NDU is there for us when we need it; one more great reason to be a member!”