At the Heart of the Operation -- Meeting Need in Margaretville, NY
Mary Jo Barnello
Margaretville, NY (September 1, 2011) Traveling into the hard hit village of Margaretville, NY from the Incident Command Center located in Oneonta, NY, the skies were blue with high wispy clouds, temperatures seasonable and the drive breathtaking - windy roads traversing the Catskill mountains. Leading in, the town of Delhi celebrated the end of summer with a farmers' market lining Main Street and American Flags on display on porches with flower beds in full bloom. The beautiful creeks running along the roadway mile by mile became rushing and converging on the outskirts of Margaretville and then turned dark brown and raging. Debris was evident at about the 8 foot tree line mark, and mud covered everything including the roadway. The National Guard was stationed on the closed bridges, clearing alternate roadways and directing travel in and out of town. Flying overhead, 6 black helicopters circled the town several times bringing in supplies.
The Margaretville Firehouse has become the center of the community. The Salvation Army disaster relief vehicle was the heart of the operation, positioned right in front. The Salvation Army Team from Bellaire, Ohio were serving food fast and furious to residents, volunteer workers, volunteer firefighters from neighboring stations, and National Guard personnel. The total number of people served at the end of the long day was topping 400 individuals with countless more with delivered meals.
A cheer went up when The Salvation Army box truck loaded with supplies arrived. More than 15 firemen leaped into action to unload the supplies of water, cleaning kits, baby supplies, pet food and canned food for mass distribution. The firemen worked side by side with Salvation Army volunteers to walk the townspeople around to make their selections. The overwhelming response from residents and volunteers alike was deep gratitude and sincere appreciation that The Salvation Army was there helping with such basic needs.
“We really appreciate The Salvation Army being here helping our community, we need it and you guys are a great support,” said Mike Porter, the President of the Margaretville Fire Department and Communications Officer. “So far, we’ve been at it for days and had 48 rescues already. Now the volunteers from Stanford, Andes and Halcottsville are here helping with pumps and cleanup. The Salvation Army is taking care of all of us with food.”