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Irene Marked by Leaders in Blenheim Ceremony

Written By Editor on 9/1/14 | 9/1/14

It has been three years to the day since Hurricane Irene changed the Schoharie Valley forever. The Town of Blenheim hosted a remembrance ceremony at its future community center, as mentioned by Deputy Supervisor Renee Grabowski.

The event drew around thirty people, including volunteers, SALT members, and local officials. It began at 11am.

"I want us to be renewed.... every person has a role in this," said SALT Director Sarah Goodrich. "We continue to see SALT as an important piece of this puzzle."

The event was well attended
Congressman Chris Gibson said that he would not relent in helping the residents of the area until recovery was achieved. "I want to start with how proud I am of this community... Lesser people would have folded," he said. Gibson praised both SALT Director Goodrich and Schoharie Recovery founder Josh DeBartolo, who is currently helping flood victims in Colorado.

Assemblyman Peter Lopez became choked up when describing the devastation after the flood and thanking volunteers. "We have gone from flood victims to flood survivors to architects," he stated. He also noted that a full quarter of the calls his office receives is related to flood recovery.

Other local officials each said a few words. Schoharie Supervisor Gene Milone thanked volunteers and Congressman Gibson personally for assisting in resolving a two year old account that was hamstrung by state bureaucracy. "We cannot ask for better representatives," he said of the Assemblyman, Congressman, and State Senator Seward. Esperance Supervisor Earl VanWormer marked the incredible progress in Esperance and beyond. Middleburgh Mayor Matthew Avitabile said that efforts from every part of local society have been extraordinary.

The event also marked a shift in tone, as Goodrich noted between recovery and revitalization. She said that 85% of all houses were either fixed or would be torn down. 15% remain unoccupied and need to be fixed.

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