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Lumberland pulls together through Sandy

By By ALISON LEVY
November 20, 2012

Communities large and small were drenched, devastated and wind-swept by the fierce winds of Hurricane (or depending on the locale, “Superstorm”) Sandy. Sullivan County was not exempt. At the Lumberland Town Board meeting on November 14, supervisor Nadia Rajsz and the board, strongly seconded by community members, spoke about a small town valiantly coming together to cope with crisis.

“It was so great to see everyone working together like a well-oiled machine,” Rajsz said. “I hope that by now everyone has had their power restored. The local electric company kept telling us that we would get there. Thank you for your patience.”

Deputy supervisor and councilman Joseph Carr added, “When they say that living in a small town has advantages because small towns know how to come together, it’s very true.”
Rajsz offered special thanks to Assemblywoman Aileen Gunther, who had meals delivered from the Red Cross, along with 42 jugs of water she urged ShopRite to donate. Sheriff Mike Schiff came through with an emergency generator to help warm people up at the local command center. “During a crisis people come together,” Rajsz said. “On a good day, we bicker, but on a bad day, we do come together.”

Carr reported that the local constables went door-to-door to check on all residents. “It was very heartwarming to see all the local departments and the residents pull together to help everyone, and make sure that no one was overlooked,” he said. The police constables responded to 86 calls for service and made 61 house calls. Due to trees felled by the winds, numerous utility wires went down.

The fire department was manned for 24 hours a day, reported president Ann Steimle. “All downed trees and wired poles were reported by fax to the control center. The radio was crackling left, right, and center, logging in 51 complaints. After the calls, came house checks.” Because numerous residents were without power or heat, the command center remained open throughout the night as a warming center. Due to power outages at the Pond Eddy Methodist Church, the contents of the church freezers were melting, so church members brought over numerous platters of turkey and food.