While a lot of folks are counting out the days before Thanksgiving by sharing day-by-day what they’re thankful for, I’ve decided to summarize the past few weeks here as they have been some of the most challenging and rewarding times I’ve ever had in my life. Here’s to giving, receiving and thanks:
GIVING: Just a few weeks ago I was deployed with seven of my cohorts on the Western New York Incident Management Team (IMT) to assist in the response and recovery efforts related to the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy blowing through Long Island and New York City.
RECEIVING: As we were traveling through New York City on our way to our final destination at the Nassau County Emergency Operations Center (EOC) we were informed that they had absolutely no means of housing our eight-person team. There were no hotel rooms available within an hour or more of our work site and despite bringing cots and bedding with us, there was ‘no room at any inn.’
Thank God I have friends in the fire service throughout the state and country as it took just one phone call to Rob Leonard, a good friend and brother firefighter with the Syosset Volunteer Fire Department and public relations committee chair with FASNY, to find us a place to rest our heads. Despite being without power and heat at his own home, Rob connected us with their chief and commissioners to clear the way for us to bunk at their nicely appointed Woodbury Firehouse.
THANKS: Due to the widespread lodging shortage, Syosset accommodated us for the first three nights of our deployment. Warm beds and hot showers were a welcome relief at the end of the 14-18 hour days we were working. Without them we would have literally been left out in the cold. For their generosity, hospitality and brotherhood in the face of their own challenges – we THANK them.