Fort Plain, NY needs your help

This is Main Street in Fort Plain. Photo by Pat Hanifin

Here are a few photos of what the Otsquago Creek looked like just a few weeks ago.

Streets became raging rivers when the Otsquago Creek went 7 feet over its highest recorded level. Photo by Pat Hanifin

“It’s been a tough 10 days here, but the generosity and the help we are getting is what keeps us going,” said Pat Hanifin, president of the Fort Plain Teachers Association. Hanifin is proud that more than half of his local’s 88 members have been volunteering to clean out the muck from homes and businesses of the Montgomery County community. I’m awaiting a call back from Mark Hisert, president of the Fort Plain SRP local, to hear how his members are coping — and helping.

As usual, NYSUT members from across the state have been generous in their support of those affected by the flooding. Last month’s flooding is the latest natural disaster to test union members and their families and neighbors. Hurricane Sandy wreaked havoc last fall in the downstate area, while Tropical Storms Lee and Irene devastated much of upstate New York the previous year. NYSUT’s Disaster Relief Fund — made up of volunteer donations from union members and staff — has responded to members in need in each instance.

NYSUT Vice President Kathleen Donahue with another carload of supplies bound for disaster relief efforts in Fort Plain. Photo by El-Wise Noisette.

NYSUT Vice President Kathleen Donahue with another carload of donations bound for disaster relief efforts in Fort Plain. Photo by El-Wise Noisette.

Meanwhile, Hanifin reports that more volunteers are still needed to clean out basements to help protect homes from mold and mildew. This small town is quite organized and residents have split up the coordinating duties among a variety of churches.

  • To help clean up homes, go to the Fort Plain Reformed Church, 165 Canal St., in Fort Plain or call ahead to (518) 993-4302.
  • To donate cleaning products such as bleach and rubber gloves, or canned or packaged food items, send those to the Fort Plain United Methodist Church, 39 Center St, Fort Plain, NY 13339-1223 or call (518) 993-3863.
  • To donate clothing, send to Valley Alliance Church at 85 Main St, Fort Plain, NY 13339 or call (518) 993-3458.

Money is the currency after a disaster. You can help by contributing to the NYSUT Disaster Relief Fund. On July 1, Gov. Cuomo requested federal disaster relief designation from President Obama. Here’s a link to more recent news that Cuomo will call a special session of the Legislature if federal aid is not approved. Once the decision on designations is made, NYSUT will make disaster relief applications available to members in the Fort Plain area.

NYSUT Vice President Kathleen Donahue, who is taking a truckload of cleaning supplies to members in Fort Plain today, said the union has received reports of members in need of disaster relief throughout a large portion of central New York affected by the recent floods.

“We are once again asking our members and our locals to step up to fund disaster relief efforts,” said Donahue, who heads up the union’s Disaster Relief Fund with Secretary-Treasurer Lee Cutler. “This is direct aid. Not one cent goes toward administrative costs, so people can know every dollar they give goes directly to a union brother or sister. Our members have been extremely generous, and I know they will continue their support.”

Large portions of Abbot Street washed away. Photo by Pat Hanifin

Meanwhile, to help facilitate the application process, those in affected areas should keep a detailed list of their losses. If you need to discuss the challenges you have rebuilding, contact NYSUT Social Services at (800) 342-9810, ext. 6206.

To view more photos, here’s a link to a photo gallery of the impact of flooding in the village of Fort Plain and another photo gallery.

And remember to support the NYSUT Disaster Relief Fund.

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8 Comments

  1. Bob Gassmann July 10, 2013 at 10:57 pm #

    This is a terrible tragedy not only in Ft. Plain but upriver in Herkimer, Mohawk and Ilion–all NYSUT locals. Many members and others have suffered major losses. I hope NYSUT statewide and regional offices are able to marshal some aid in these areas as well.

    • Betsy Sandberg July 12, 2013 at 10:05 am #

      Thanks for your comment. Sadly, even more reasons to give to the Disaster Relief Fund. Feel free to call me at (800) 342-9810 ext. 6283 with more specific info. Thanks again.

      • Bob Gassmann July 23, 2013 at 9:13 am #

        UPDATE: Met with local Presidents and local aid organizations at Utica/Rome NYSUT regional office 7/16. We are working to identify members who suffered losses, and direct them to available resources. Thanks to Fred Monaco and the entire staff of the U/R office for their guidance.

  2. Terri Bennett July 11, 2013 at 5:57 pm #

    Hello. Please let flood survivors know that there will be events hosted this weekend, facilitated by Deansboro native Sarah Vandenbergh, to help residents learn how to safely recover and rebuild post-flooding. Vandenbergh has become a mold expert after volunteering in the Rockaways, a Queens coastal neighborhood devastated by Sandy, for many months. She’s now giving back to her home region by coordinating info sessions wherever there is interest in reliable information about safe, healthy recovery post-flood, and low-cost, highly effective mold remediation.

    There are currently events planned in Ft. Plain and Brookfield, and there are timeslots available if other communities are interested. She can be reached at info@respondandrebuild.org.

    The event listing is here: https://www.facebook.com/events/1390579437826309/

    Thank you for spreading the word, and please know our thoughts are with you and other struggling through these difficult times.

    All my best,

    Terri Bennett
    Co-director: Respond & Rebuild

  3. Craig Chilton July 16, 2013 at 1:48 pm #

    Yet another terrible misfortune for my favorite previous home town, and the one in which I lived from age 4-13. While I was there, the Sealtest plant burned down, and I haven’t seen Rainbow Ice Cream anywhere since! Then some years later, an entire key block of downtown Fort Plain was lost the same way. And now THIS awful event.

    But the people of Fort plain are resolute, and have always had spirit. They will emerge from all of this strong and proud, and I’m proud of them. I hope that they are able to get excellent government assistance, for this is the sort of time when the government can prove itself to be of the greatest value to its citizens — in times of great need.

    Hang in there, Fort Plain! You’ve always been my favorite place!

    • Martha Hanson August 17, 2013 at 11:52 am #

      Craig, my family lived in Nelliston in the 50s. When did the ice cream plant burn down? And the downtown block?

      • marjorie fusco September 8, 2013 at 2:38 pm #

        i have things that maybe some people can use toward thier homes tv perfect condition
        my husband wanted a flat screen its cable ready. electric radiator for extra heat a large inside fan for summer if anyone needs these its free just have to pick up your selves
        fuscomarjorie@gmail.com

  4. Nanci Pollard October 16, 2013 at 9:49 am #

    S.A.L.T. (Schoharie Area Long Term Recovery) has donated items available for flood impacted families. Items include: cabinetry, plumbing necessities, Doors/windows, etc. If you are a flood impacted family, please have your local agency contact us at 518-702-5017. Ask for the Donations Coordinator.

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