The following was contributed by Mary Jo Barnello, Director of Development and Community Relations at The Salvation Army, Empire State Division.
Traveling into the hard-hit village of Margaretville, NY from the Salvation Army Incident Command Center located in Oneonta, NY, the skies were blue, the temperatures seasonable and the drive breathtaking as we traversed the winding roads of the Catskill mountains. Leading in, the town of Delhi celebrated the end of summer with a farmers’ market lining Main Street, American flags displayed on porches, and flowerbeds in full bloom.
As we approached Margaretville, the beautiful creeks running along the roadway mile by mile became increasingly rushed. They converged on the outskirts of town and turned dark brown and raging. Debris were evident on trees 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, six black helicopters circled the town several times bringing in supplies.
The Margaretville Firehouse has become the center of the community and The Salvation Army disaster relief vehicle was the heart of the operation, positioned right in front. The Salvation Army Team from Bellaire, Ohio was serving food fast and furious to residents, volunteers, firefighters from neighboring stations, and National Guard personnel. The Salvation Army served hundreds at the Firehouse with countless more waiting for meals to be delivered.
A cheer went up when The Salvation Army box truck arrived, loaded with supplies. More than 15 firemen leapt into action to unload the water, cleaning kits, baby supplies, pet food and canned food for mass distribution. The firemen worked side by side with Salvation Army volunteers to help the townspeople make their selections. The overwhelming response from residents and volunteers alike was grateful. They sincerely 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 have had 48 rescues already. Now, volunteers from Stanford, Andes and Halcottsville are here helping with pumps and clean-up. The Salvation Army is taking care of all of us with food.”
See more Photos Here.
The Salvation Army is in need of donations to continue providing relief to thousands across the East Coast. Donations can be made online at www.SalvationArmyUSA.org, by calling 1-800-SAL-ARMY. *Or, use your mobile phone to text the word “STORM” to 80888 to make a $10 donation.
* A one?time donation of $10 will be billed to your mobile phone bill. Messaging & data rates may apply. Donations are collected for The Salvation Army by mobilecause.com. Reply STOP to 80888 to stop. Reply HELP to 80888 for help. For terms, see www.igfn.org/t.