BY MARIA MIRAKAJ BROWNSELL
For the Village of Sloatsburg, the impact of Hurricane Irene on August 28 has made lasting impressions. The village was cut off from the rest of the county by washed out bridges, blocked roads, lost electricity and much more. Mayor Carl S. Wright and the village board took time during last weeks’ board meeting to thank all those that made a difference during the emergency.
“During this time of this crisis, during this time of this danger, we saw the best about America. We saw individuals, private organizations and government and coming together to work for the common good and that was to help their neighbors here in Sloatsburg,” said Wright.
Village Clerk, Thomas F. Bollatto, Jr., and his office staff kept meticulous paperwork that expedited receiving monetary help from FEMA. Wright’s board of trustees, Barbara Berntsen, J. Mark Reimer, Peter Akey, and John Bonkoski, each took authority in their area of expertise and made sure everything possible was being done to help out.
With the hard work of regional director of NYSDOT, Bill Gorton, the rebuilding of the bridge at Seven Lakes Drive was completed ahead of schedule last week. Gorton showed Sloatsburg that the state was not far away during this disaster by being there right away and getting things moving with the bridge. Mayor Wright thanked Gorton and the contracting companies that rebuilt the roads and bridges.
Political figures such as Senator Carlucci, Supervisor St. Lawrence, Superintendent of Public Works Mike DeMartino were recognized for the constant contact and help provided throughout the process. Legislator Douglas Jobson walked to Waldron Terrace, which was completely isolated from the rest of the village, to let the residents know what was going on.
“Doug was here just about every day. He let the people of Waldron Terrace know that they were not forgotten and we were doing the best we could to get those services back. I want to thank you for your reassurance of those people,” said Wright.
Joe Miele of Miele Sanitation was recognized for their initiative during the crisis. “Before I could even ask, on his own initiative, now this is a businessman showing social responsibility, he sent his trucks up the New York State Thruway, they came back down the Thruway and came to Waldron Terrace to pick up their garbage… Once again, private industry showing what they can do for the community,” said Wright.
Other groups that were thanked include Orange and Rockland, the highway department, Sloatsburg Fire Department, office of emergency services, the town of Tuxedo, Superintendent Addams, Meals on Wheels, United Water, Mid Hudson Red Cross, Grace Point Gospel, and the list goes on.
The Sloatsburg Ambulance Corp opened its doors to house people who were flooded. They also served as the home to the Army National Guard while they were there. The Sloatsburg Fire Department members took time from their regular jobs and their families to make sure the people of the community were safe.
The Army National Guard came into Sloatsburg and took over traffic control, bringing water to residents that couldn’t get any, pumping out basements, and any other tasks they were asked. “It was an honor. There were people that didn’t have anything and they were bringing us stuff. It was amazing,” said Sgt. Darrell Butler after receiving an award from Mayor Wright.
“I want to thank all the emergency people, all the people that came to Sloatsburg. It was really a critical moment. The civilian people, the business people, the medical people, everybody pitched in and that made me feel good,” said Sheriff Kralik. “This is the best part of America right here. And if there is a thanks to be given from me to all of you, it has really been a privilege to work in Rockland County as the sheriff for as many years as I have been.”